Health
5:19 pm
Mon September 24, 2012

New Rule Requires Simple Explanation Of Health Coverage

Insurers are now required to provide consumers a summary, in plain English, of the coverage and costs in their health plans.

It’s one provision of the Affordable Care Act taking effect this week. Specifically, the law requires insurance companies to give consumers a summary of benefits and coverage, or SBC, plus a glossary that explains the terms commonly used in health insurance.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas spokeswoman Mary Beth Chambers says even in simplified terms, the new SBC is several pages long.

“Health insurance is a complicated product to buy,” says Chambers. 

Chambers says Blue Cross is fully ready for the new rule, after working on it for several months. 

“It is, I think, simpler for folks to understand. It really should give folks a pretty clear look at what they’re going to be getting.

Most health plans that begin or renew January 1st, including the plans covering thousands of state employees in Kansas, have an open enrollment period in the fall. That means lots of people will soon see the new summary of benefits and coverage for the first time. 

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This story is part of a reporting partnership that includes KCUR /KPR, NPR and Kaiser Health News.

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