Feds Release Final Rules on Health Plan Language

Cheryl Clark, February 10, 2012

Starting Sept. 23, 150 million private health plan customers will be able to shop for coverage with the use of advertising materials that use the same template, so buyers can get apples to apples comparisons, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services final rule released Thursday.

"For too many Americans today choosing a health plan means reading through a human resources booklet usually the size of a small phonebook," said Acting CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner during a news conference.

"If an insurance plan offers subpar coverage in some areas, they won't be able to hide it in dozens of pages of text. They'll have to come right out and say it. And this will create a more competitive marketplace where insurers are motivated to improve their product."

Tavenner also said, "Important information about eligibility and benefits is often buried in the fine print. And it can be confusing to compare one plan to another.... With these new rules today, we're making it easier for consumers to find the plan that's right for them. Specifically, these rules will assure consumers have access to key documents that will help them understand and evaluate their health insurance choices."


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