New FAQs Address Summary of Benefits and Coverage Template and Other Affordable Care Act Topics
The U.S. Department of Labor has released its latest set of FAQs regarding implementation of various provisions of the Affordable Care Act. Highlights of the FAQs are presented below.
Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC)
Group health plans are required to provide, without charge, a standard SBC form explaining plan coverage and costs to employees at specified times during the enrollment process and upon request. (For insured group health plans, the notice requirement may be satisfied if the issuer furnishes recipients with a timely and complete SBC.)
The new FAQs provide that the updated SBC template (and sample completed SBC) made available in April 2013 continues to be authorized until further guidance is issued. The FAQs also confirm that certain safe harbors and other enforcement relief with respect to providing the SBC continue to apply.
Effect of Health FSA Carryovers on ‘Excepted Benefits’ Status
Excepted benefits provided under a group health plan generally are exempt from the Affordable Care Act’s market reforms. Health FSAs may constitute excepted benefits if, among other requirements, the arrangement is structured so that the maximum benefit payable to any employee participant in the class cannot exceed a certain amount.
The latest set of FAQs explains that unused carryover amounts remaining at the end of a plan year in a health FSA (permitted under the modified “use-or-lose” rule) should not be taken into account when determining if the health FSA satisfies the maximum benefit payable limit to constitute excepted benefits.
Other topics addressed in the FAQs include the application of cost-sharing limits to out-of-network items and services, and preventive coverage related to tobacco cessation interventions. For more on the Affordable Care Act, including previously released questions and answers, please visit our Health Care Reform section.