The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) expanded the disclosure requirements for group health plans and health insurance issuers, mandating that participants and beneficiaries be provided with a four-page summary of benefits and coverage (SBC) for each benefit package offered. The PPACA provided that this disclosure requirement was effective beginning March 23, 2012. (See our November 2011 Employee Benefits Broadcast (http://tinyurl.com/bt2xwjj) for additional information regarding the SBC requirements.)
On August 22, 2011, the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and the Treasury (collectively, the Departments) issued proposed regulations and templates in connection with the implementation of the SBC requirements. The proposed regulations contained an applicability date of March 23, 2012.
In response to concerns that plan sponsors would be unable to comply with the SBC requirements by March 23, 2012, the Departments jointly issued FAQs on November 17, 2011, delaying the applicability date for the SBC requirements until final regulations have been issued. The FAQs anticipate that the applicability date under the final regulations will give group health plan sponsors sufficient time to comply with the SBC requirements.
Plan Sponsor Action
Plan sponsors may wish to postpone implementation of the SBC requirements until final regulations have been issued. Implementing the SBC requirements contained in the proposed regulations may result in additional implementation costs in the event the final rules and templates differ from the rules and templates contained in the proposed regulations.
Legal News Alert is part of our ongoing commitment to providing up-to-the-minute information about pressing concerns or industry issues affecting our clients and colleagues.
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Erik D. Vogt