Obama Administration Releases Standard Insurance Forms

Earlier today, the Obama administration unveiled regulations to create standardized forms for health coverage that health insurers and employers will be required to use starting next year. The forms aim to help families clearly understand information about their coverage and compare different insurance options. Below is a sample page:

The form is a significant improvement from today’s insurance environment in which companies rely on various forms and often don’t disclose key information about how coverage works or what services are even covered. In fact, terms and definitions vary across policies, confusing beneficiaries and making it very difficult to know if needed benefits will be provided and at what cost. In May 2009, the Center for American Progress put out this report explaining the complexity of the marketplace and stressing the importance of developing consumer-friendly comparison tools We recommend developing standardized health plan comparison tools “that could help consumers appreciate the kinds of medical events for which health insurance may be needed and relative levels of protection provided under different policies.”