Many employers with calendar year group health plans start thinking about open enrollment materials over the summer months. This summer, employers will also have to consider added requirements under health care reform.
Beginning September 23, 2012, all individuals with group and individual health coverage must receive a Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC) along with a Uniform Glossary. These documents are intended to explain health plan benefits in plain language with examples to allow individuals to compare different coverage options.
Almost all health plans will have to provide the SBC and Uniform Glossary. For insured plans, the insurer will do most of the heavy lifting by preparing and distributing the required documents. However, it remains the plan's obligation to make sure the documents are provided. Administrators of self-funded plans will shoulder full responsibility for preparing and distributing the documents.
While the first distribution of the SBC and Uniform Glossary is due September 23, employers will want to include the documents as part of the annual enrollment materials. Employers should think about the required formatting and fit the SBC/Uniform Glossary into their other distribution materials.