Braley’s Plain Language in Health Insurance Law is Implemented Print
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Jeff Giertz   
Friday, 10 February 2012 15:02

Friday February 10, 2012

Departments of Health & Human Services, Labor, and Treasury announce final rule for implementation


Washington, DC – Three government agencies announced new rules late yesterday to fully implement Rep. Bruce Braley’s (IA-01) Plain Language in Health Insurance Act, a bill he introduced that was later passed into law as part of the 2010 Affordable Care Act.

Under the rule announced today, health insurers must provide clear, consistent and comparable summary information to consumers about their health plan benefits and coverage. The new forms will be available beginning on September 23rd, and will be a helpful resource for the roughly 150 million Americans with private health insurance.

“I think everyone agrees that health insurance forms should be written as clearly as possible,” said Braley. “These new rules will make insurance forms much easier to understand, so that consumers know exactly what they’re paying for.  Small businesses will also save time and money as they can easily compare plans for their employees, and won’t have to decipher the same old insurance gobbledygook that we’ve dealt with for years.  This is a big step towards a more transparent, consumer-friendly healthcare marketplace.”

The Braley Plain Language in Health Insurance provision of the Affordable Care Act requires health insurers to eliminate confusing language from marketing materials that make it difficult for consumers to understand exactly what they are buying.

The rules announced yesterday stipulate that consumers have access to two key documents to help them understand and evaluate their health insurance choices:

·         A short, easy-to-understand Summary of Benefits and Coverage; and

·         A uniform glossary of terms commonly used in health insurance coverage, such as “deductible” and “co-payment.”

A key feature of the Summary of Benefits and Coverage is a new, standardized plan comparison tool called “coverage examples,” similar to the Nutrition Facts label required for packaged foods.  The coverage examples will illustrate sample medical situations, describing how much coverage the plan would provide in events such as having a baby or managing diabetes.  These examples will help consumers understand and compare what they would have to pay under each plan they are considering.

A template of the Summary of Benefits and Coverage can be downloaded at the following link:

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