New final regulations amend the existing rules on the summary of benefits and coverage (SBC) notice requirements under Health Care Reform for SBCs with respect to coverage that begins on or after September 1, 2015.
Among other things, the new regulations place additional obligations on group health plans that enter into a binding contract with another party to provide the SBC (such as the insurer). To satisfy the requirement to provide the SBC, such a plan must:
- Monitor performance under the contract;
- Correct noncompliance as soon as practicable, if the plan has knowledge that the SBC is not being provided in a manner that complies with the law and has all information necessary to correct the noncompliance; and
- Communicate with affected participants and beneficiaries and begin taking significant steps as soon as practicable to avoid future violations, if the plan has knowledge that the SBC is not being provided in a manner that complies with the law and does not have all information necessary to correct the noncompliance.
A new SBC template and associated documents are expected to be finalized, separately from the final regulations, by January 2016 and will apply to SBCs for coverage beginning on or after January 1, 2017. Until then, the previously authorized templates may be used without penalty (including the original template), provided the SBC is furnished with a cover letter or similar disclosure that includes additional language indicating whether the plan provides “minimum essential coverage” and “minimum value.”
Be sure to visit our Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC) section for additional information.