In addition to extending the deadline of the reform law’s Summary of Benefits and Coverage rule, the feds made several changes that should make employers lives a little easier.
Under the SBC rules, health plans are required to provide enrolled employees with a summary of their benefits and coverage, as well as a glossary of commonly used terms — such as deductible and co-pay.
The final regs, issued by the Departments of HHS, Labor and Treasury, set the new compliance deadline as a health plan’s first open enrollment period beginning on or after September 23, 2012.
So, for calendar year plans (plans that begin on Jan. 1), this deadline takes effect at the open enrollment period (normally between Oct. and Dec.) for the 2013 plan year.
The original compliance deadline for the SBCs was March 23, 2012.
In addition to giving employers a definitive compliance deadline, the new regs also include a significant change that should make things a little easier for employers.
Health plans do not have to provide the SBCs as a stand-alone document.
In a reversal of its initial stance, the feds have said SBCs can be included with health plans’ summary plan descriptions, as long as the SBCs’ info is intact and prominently displayed at the beginning of the summary description, such as after the table of contents.
In addition, the SBCs don’t need to include information on premiums.