February 27, 2012
For additional information:
Jason Hammersla
202-422-4652 (cell)

Council urges delay in health care ‘summary of benefits and coverage’ rules

WASHINGTON, DC — The American Benefits Council sent a letter to three Obama Administration cabinet secretaries today urging a delay in the applicability of recently issued rules implementing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). Final regulations setting forth the requirements for Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC) disclosure were issued on February 14, including an extremely short timeline for compliance.

“Contrary to assurances made in earlier regulatory guidance, the final rule fails to provide sufficient time for implementation and also fails to recognize that many employers are still in the early stages of making decisions for the benefits they will provide for 2013,” said Council president, James Klein. “It should not fall upon those who must comply with regulations to do so on a shorter timeframe simply because the agencies took longer than prescribed to promulgate the rules.”

The letter specifically requests “an immediate communication that the applicability date in the final rule … will be delayed by twelve months. Alternatively, we request that informal guidance be issued immediately establishing a transition rule for the upcoming 2013 plan year under which employers who sponsor health plans will be considered in compliance with the final rule if they provide summary information on the health plan options they provide to employees, but could continue to do so in a different format and manner than would be required under the final rule until the date of the delayed applicability date.”

“We believe that disclosure and the communications regarding health benefits are an important component of benefit plan administration and design,” Klein said. “However, the stated implementation period for these requirements is unnecessarily abrupt, disruptive and burdensome and should either be delayed by twelve months to minimize these adverse consequences or transition rule for employers should be provided.”

Click here for the Council’s letter. For more information, or to arrange an interview with Council staff, please contact Jason Hammersla, Council director of communications, at or by phone at 202-289-6700 (office) or (202) 422-4652 (cell).

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The American Benefits Council is the national trade association for companies concerned about federal legislation and regulations affecting all aspects of the employee benefits system. The Council's members represent the entire spectrum of the private employee benefits community and either sponsor directly or administer retirement and health plans covering more than 100 million Americans.