In order to help insurance customers better understand the array of choices they have for health insurance when the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act goes into pace, the government indicates that it will provide consumers with a form that will help guide them through the process. Based on initial testing of the form, it's being well received.
According to the Consumers Union, the Summary of Benefits and Coverage form was recently pre-tested with consumers. A Consumer Reports survey was conducted shortly after policyholders were given it and a mere 9 percent said that they were dissatisfied with how it helped them understand their health coverage choices.
At the same time, though, many people are unaware that the SBC form even exists. For example, the poll found that only half of consumers who shopped for a new plan ever saw the SBC form.
Lynn Quincy, senior health policy analyst for Consumers Union, noted that more people may be able to gain the understanding that they need about the PPACA but what's crucial is that the form actually get to the people who need it most.
"It's clear that consumers like the form, but in order to get the most out of it we need to find a way to make sure consumers see the SBC when they are shopping for insurance," said Quincy.
Quincy added that health insurance carriers will be able to access these forms, and when they attach them to their already existing plans, they should put them up in the front of the multi-page documents rather than the back, where they're less likely to be seen.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is expected to go into effect in 2014, but several states and insurers are making preparations now so that they aren't behind come January 1.