April 2, 2012

Health care reform expands ERISA’s disclosure requirements by requiring that a “summary of benefits and coverage” be provided to applicants and enrollees before enrollment or re-enrollment. The summary (referred to as the SBC) must accurately describe the “benefits and coverage under the applicable plan or coverage.” The requirement applies beginning with the first open enrollment period beginning on or after September 23, 2012 for participants and beneficiaries enrolling or re-enrolling through open enrollment. For individuals enrolling other than through open enrollment (e.g., newly eligible individuals or special enrollees), the requirement applies beginning on the first day of the first plan year that begins on or after September 23, 2012. For calendar-year plans, this means that SBCs will first be required during open enrollment in 2012 for the 2013 plan year. But for some non-calendar-year plans, the SBC rules may first apply to newly eligible individuals and special enrollees.

Download the PDF here.