HHS Unveils Final Design For Insurance Labels – Forgets pricing

Part of the PPACA is that the plan description will come to you in more easy to understand “government language”, see Kathleen Sebelius’ quote below. She talks about “confusing language”. I’ve read the new and improved government version, and it’s 8 pages long, and quite confusing to me. I noticed that they left the premium out. I wonder if they thing that things like the cost are “confusing language”?

HHS Unveils Final Design For Insurance Labels – Kaiser Health News.

HHS Unveils Final Design For Insurance Labels

Feb 09, 2012

The Obama administration today unveiled final regulations that detail what information health insurers must provide on new consumer labels mandated by the federal health law to explain their plans.

An example of an insurance coverage label released today by HHS. (Click to enlarge)

“All consumers, for the first time, will really be able to clearly comprehend the sometimes confusing language insurance plans often use in marketing,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in a printed statement. “This will give them a new edge in deciding which plan will best suit their needs and those of their families or employees.”

The standardized forms will be available beginning Sept. 23 for about 150 million Americans with private health insurance, federal health officials.

View the labels

View the labels HHS will give consumers to inform them about their health insurance options:

Source: Department of Health and Human Services

The rules set the design for easy-to-understand forms describing health insurance benefits. The forms are intended to provide the same details on all policies using the same language – defined in an accompanying glossary — so that consumers can compare policies. The law also mandates coverage examples that explain how much a plan pays on average for common medical conditions. It even eliminates “fine print” by requiring that information be printed in 12-point type, which is larger than the print in a typical newspaper article.

But the bottom line – a policy’s price – is missing. Although an estimated premium price was included the draft rules announced last August, it has been dropped and won’t be required for the form. Other changes from the earlier rules include reducing the number of coverage examples from three to two (having a baby and diabetes care).

Marilyn Tavenner, the acting head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which held the media briefing, said the changes will improve consumers’ understanding of their health options.

“For too many Americans today, choosing a health plan means reading through a human resources book usually the size of a small phone book and important information about eligibility and benefits is often buried in the fine print,” she said. “And it can be confusing to compare one plan to another. For those who purchase health insurance on their own, this process can be even more frustrating. With these new rules we’re making it easier for consumers to find the plan that is right for them.”

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