The Department of Health and Human Services recently announced that employers offering private health plans must provide employees with summary of benefits coverage, which is a user-friendly brief outlining available plan options and costs, including copays and deductibles.

While the intent of these SBCs is to provide health care consumers with more transparency into their benefits, it could pose problems for employers, says J.D. Piro, senior vice president and leader of the health law group at Aon Hewitt, a human capital consulting firm in Chicago.

The original effective date for SBCs was scheduled for March 23, but many employers expressed their hope for the deadline to be set at least a year out, Piro says. In fact, according to a recent survey by HighRoads, a human resources and employee benefits management provider in Woburn, Mass., fewer than half of employers were ready to distribute their SBCs by the March 23 deadline.

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