CMS announced this month that for coverage beginning (or renewing) on or after September 1, 2015, a revised and shortened SBC template has been jointly proposed by the Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and Treasury. The new SBC (Summary of Benefits & Coverage) format has been reduced in length to two and a half double-sided pages by removing information that is not required by statute. Additionally, the streamlining allows for a third coverage illustration to be added to demonstrate coverage in an emergency situation. These changes are intended to make it easier for group health plans and carriers to comply with the requirement as well as improve consumer access to relevant plan design information.

Comments on the new format and related documents will be accepted until February 28, 2015, which is 60 days after the December 30, 2014 Federal Register publication date.