Plan sponsor and insurer compliance with a new disclosure requirement under the PPACA known as the Summary of Benefits and Coverage or SBC has been put on hold until until the agencies responsible for PPACA compliance issue final regulations on the new disclosure format. Under PPACA and proposed regulations issued in August 2011, the original compliance deadline was March 23, 2012.

The proposed regulations included a disclosure template that is tailored to an insured arrangement, and public comments noted that a very different template would be needed for self-funded plans.

In response to this and other concerns raised about timely compliance, the applicable agencies – DOL, IRS and the Department of Health and Human Services – announced the postponed deadline in Frequently Asked Questions on PPACA issues, the seventh such informal communication on the health care reform law.

The FAQ further provides that the final regulations, once issued, will include a new, prospective compliance deadline that gives insurers and plan sponsors sufficient time to comply.

This is welcome news to plan sponsors, insurers, and benefits brokers who are on the front lines of plan communications. Given that the SBC is a completely new type of plan disclosure and one provided to applicants, not simply participants, it is still a good idea for plan sponsors, insurers and brokers to become familiar with the proposed regulations and the existing disclsoure template, well in advance of any new compliance deadline. Some basic information on the SBC for benefits brokers is available in this earlier post.

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