State insurance regulators are asking the Obama administration to be a little looser about the size of Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC) notices.
The SBC is supposed to be like a “milk carton nutrition label” for health plans that gives consumers and others basic, standardized, easy-to-compare information about a health plan’s features, such as deductibles, co-payment levels and annual maximum out-of-pocket spending limits.
When lawmakers included the law creating the SBC program in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA), they set a four-page size limit on each SBC.
Federal regulators eventually decided that “four pages” could mean both sides of four sheets of paper.
Now, members of the Consumer Information Subgroup, an arm of the Health Insurance and Managed Care Committee at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), have developed a letter and memo that call for the “tri agency” group in charge of administering PPACA — the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) — to bend the definition of “four pages” a little more.
The subgroup “unanimously and strongly recommends that the tri agencies interpret that statutory page limitation as applying to the ‘uniform template’ [for an SBC] and not to an SBC after it has been completed or issued by a plan issuer,” the subgroup says in a version of the memo posted on the NAIC website in connection with a subgroup conference call held Tuesday.
See also: Feds: 2016 SBC rules are coming ‘in the near future’