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Health insurance subscribers must be provided with a summary of benefits and coverage (SBC) on the first day of the first plan year that begins on or after Sept. 23, according to the U.S. departments of Health and Human Services, Labor and Treasury departments. The SBC must be a simple, straightforward document that is easy to understand and that will allow people to compare differences in benefits and coverage when they shop for insurance. Calendar-year plans with an annual open enrollment period that takes place before the start of the plan year will generally need to start providing the SBC on the first day of the open enrollment period for the 2013 plan year.

The final regulations provide a final template for the SBC, along with instructions, samples and a guide for the coverage example calculations to be included in the SBC. It also includes a uniform glossary explaining commonly used terms in health coverage. Access the Department of Health and Human Services at: http://cciio.cms.gov/programs/consumer/summaryandglossary/index.html.