Yesterday, the Departments of Labor, Health & Human Services, and the Treasury (collectively, the “Departments”) issued a new FAQ. As with prior FAQ’s, this FAQ is intended to answer a question in order to help people understand the Affordable Care Act and its implementation. The question this FAQ addresses is in regard to the proposed changes to the summary of benefits and coverage (“SBC”). The question was posed as follows:

In the December 2014 notice of proposed rulemaking, the Departments proposed changes to the SBC regulations, as well as a new SBC template and associated documents. Changes to the SBC regulations, template, and associated documents were proposed to apply beginning September 1, 2015. When do the Departments intend to finalize changes to the regulations, SBC template, and associated documents?

Based on the FAQ, it appears that the revised SBC regulations will be issued in time for coverage beginning or renewing on January 1, 2016. With that being said, the FAQ also provided that the Departments anticipate the new template and associated documents will be finalized by January 2016 and will be required to be used for 2017 coverage.

The Departments intend to offer an opportunity for the public, including the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, to provide further input before finalizing revisions to the SBC template and associated documents. As stated above, the Departments anticipate the new template and associated documents will be finalized by January 2016 and will apply to coverage that would renew or begin on or after January 1, 2017 (open enrollment periods in the Fall of 2016). While the Departments indicate that they are “fully committed to updating the template and associated documents (including the uniform glossary) to better meet consumers’ needs as quickly as possible,” they intend to offer an opportunity for the public, including the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, to provide further input before finalizing revisions to the SBC template and associated documents.