On November 17, the federal Department of Labor issued guidance that delayed the effective date of PPACA's Summary of Benefits and Coverage and Uniform Glossary requirements. The guidance, issued via the Department’s webpage on frequently asked PPACA questions, did not give a new specific compliance date, but instead stated that until final rules are issued on this topic, group health plans and health insurance issues are not required to comply. The guidance went on to specify that once final rules are issued, the DOL anticipates that the new rules will include an applicability date that gives group health plans and health insurance issuers sufficient time to comply.
The DOL, along with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), issued proposed rules on this matter in August 2011, and that document proposed March 23, 2012 as the compliance date. However, the various agencies received many comment letters on the proposed rule, including from NAHU, that explained that employers and insurers require a final rule in order to implement and the compressed timeline provided in the proposed rule was inadequate to make the complicated system and program changes necessary to implement. In our comments, we suggested that employers and insurers be given an additional 18 months to comply. However, based on informal comments from the administration on this topic, it seems more like that a final rule will be issued within the next few months, with compliance potentially expected by January 1, 2013.