Starting Sept. 23, 2012, the basics of any given health insurance policy will become a whole lot easier to grasp. Earlier today, the White House finalized a key consumer-oriented provision of the health reform law: Standardized labels for health insurance plans. Think of them as nutrition facts for a health insurance plan that outline a health plan’s deductible, out-of-pocket limits and costs for visits to the emergency room or primary care doctor. For insurers, who had lobbied for these labeling standards to go into effect in January 2014, the timeline is a huge concern. For agents and consumers, another question is this: just what information will be missing from these labels? Though certain key details will become more accessible to consumers, more subjective questions such as, "How much coverage do I need?" or "Which policy is most cost-effective given my health history?" will remain unanswered.
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