October 2012 Issue
September 27, 2012

Health Advocate: Comparing health plans made easier by Affordable Care Act

Author: Susan Klug
Source: NYSUT United

Now that the Supreme Court has found the Affordable Care Act to be constitutional, its provisions need to be implemented.

Changes include a requirement that employers use a uniform summary of benefits and coverage (SBC) to describe the benefits of their health plan. It will allow people to easily compare different options offered by their employer or their spouse's employer so they can select which one best meets their needs.

The summary can be no more than four pages, double-sided, and must include a description of the coverage including deductibles, co-pays and coinsurance. Each summary will depict two coverage examples for comparison: the normal delivery of a baby and treatments for managing type 2 diabetes. Employers must also provide access to a uniform glossary of health insurance terms.

The employer must provide this information, either a paper copy or electronically, the first plan year after Sept. 23, 2012. NYSUT members with health plans renewing in January will see this material as part of their open enrollment. Those with health plans renewing in July will receive it next spring.