Monday December 12, 2011
When you go to buy a car or an appliance, you’re presented with basic facts that give you information about the product and enable you to compare it with other brands based on features and price. This has never been the case with health insurance. Today, when consumers pick a health coverage plan they are given a long document filled with complicated jargon that is virtually impossible for them to understand. An important provision in the Affordable Care Act, known as the Summary of Benefits and Coverage provision, was written to change that.
The provision requires insurance companies to provide consumers with a simple, straightforward explanation of benefits in a short, simple format, making it easier for consumers to find out what a plan offers and how it compares with other plans (Kaiser Health News issued a great brief with examples of what these could look like). Unfortunately, this provision is being threatened by the lobbying arm of the insurance industry, despite the industry’s own study that showed that better information about benefits would help consumers make more informed choices about the health plan that’s right for them.
ACS CAN responded by inviting its grassroots advocates to contact the White House and insist that consumers take precedence over insurance companies. We’re making sure that the voices of patients across the country are being heard on this issue!
Our efforts are helped by a public opinion survey released last week showing that despite being lesser known than many other elements of the law, the summary of benefits and coverage is the most popular provision in new health care law among the public.
We’re striving to make health coverage simple and easy to understand for cancer patients. Join us and tell the White House to side with the consumers, not the insurance industry.