New regulation calls for clear and concise health insurance guides for consumers
Beginning this week, U.S. health insurance companies are required to provide customers with user-friendly guides concerning the benefits they will receive through coverage. This is part of a provision of the Affordable Care Act, which aims to bring more transparency to the health insurance industry and provide consumers with the information they need to make educated choices concerning their health care. Employers offering health insurance benefits to workers are also required to provide use-friendly guides to policies.
Benefits for 163 million consumers to be easily understandable
According to federal regulations, insurers must provide, clear, concise information concerning their policies in a standardized format to consumers. Federal regulators believe that this information will provide a way for more than 163 million consumers throughout the country to make side-by-side comparisons of benefits certain plans offer. Insurers are also required, by federal regulations, to provide consumers with access to a standardized glossary containing various insurance and medical terms. These are meant to help consumers understand the language used in most health insurance policies.
Agency release sample documentation
The Department of Health and Human Services has released a sample document showcasing how the benefits guides coming from insurance companies should look. The document is eight pages long and clearly lists the benefits included in a hypothetical health insurance policy. These benefits are summarized and provide basic information on what they do and do not cover as well as how these benefits affect the overall price of a health insurance policy.
Insurers show disdain for new regulation
The insurance industry has been divided on the issue, with many showing clear disdain. Health insurers opposing the measure argue that it adds yet more administrative hurdles to the industry, thus increasing costs. Some have suggested that increasing the administrative costs health insurance companies see through regulations could trickle down to consumers. This has yet to be seen, however, and the federal government has not been swayed by such concerns in its pursuit of health care reform.