New Health Insurance Regulations Make Health Insurance Policies Easier to Understand

On Feb. 9 the Department of Health & Human Services announced the consumers could soon look forward to plainer, more straightforward language about their health care plans. Published regulations in the Affordable Care Act require that descriptions of what their health plans will cover, what limitations or conditions will apply, and what they will pay for services be easier to understand. BBB records show 1179 complaints against health insurance companies from consumers nationwide over the past year.

BBB often advises consumers to read through an entire offer, fine print included, before agreeing to a purchase. However, in the case of some health care marketing materials, consumers could read the provided information word for word and still not know what to expect in regards to cost and coverage.

Hoping to provide a solution to this dilemma, the Department of Health & Human Services describes “a key feature” of the new disclosure, called coverage samples: “The coverage examples will illustrate sample medical situations and describe how much coverage the plan would provide in an event such as having a baby (normal delivery) or managing Type II diabetes (routine maintenance, well-controlled).” This feature should allow consumers to compare the costs and coverage of different plans more effectively.

Consumers interested in learning more about the new disclosure guidelines should visit www.healthcare.gov. The website offers an overview and sample of the new required Summary of Benefits and Coverage with a glossary.

Candice