The Department of Labor (DOL) recently posted a new set of FAQs (click to here to read the FAQ) to its website providing additional guidance on the requirement under health care reform to give health plan participants a four page uniform summary of benefits and coverage (SBC). Some highlights include:
- A new electronic-distribution safe harbor that specifically allows for distribution of the SBC with online enrollment materials.
- A transition rule for arrangements that are partly insured and partly self-funded (e.g., an insured high deductible plan with integrated self-insured HRA) that allows using two or more partial SBCs for the first year of applicability.
- A non-enforcement rule for expatriate coverage during the first year of applicability, effectively suspending the requirement to provide an SBC for expatriate coverage during the first year.
- Assurance that penalties will not be imposed during the first year of applicability on employers "that are working diligently and in good faith to comply" with the rules.
The detailed requirements for preparation and distribution of the SBC are described in final regulations issued by the IRS, DOL, and HHS earlier this year. (Click here to see the final regulation.) The requirement to distribute an SBC generally applies to the first open enrollment period beginning on or after September 23, 2012.