February 17, 2012
The Honorable Timothy Geithner
U.S. Department of the Treasury
Internal Revenue Service
1111 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20224
The Honorable Hilda Solis
U.S. Department of Labor
Office of Health Plan Standards and Compliance Assistance
Employee Benefits Security Administration
200 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20210
The Honorable Kathleen Sebelius
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
Department of Health and Human Services
P.O. Box 8016
7500 Security Boulevard
Baltimore, MD 21244-1850
Re: Delay Effective Date Request for Summary of Benefits and Coverage and the Uniform Glossary
Dear Sir or Madam:
The Business Roundtable (BRT) is an association of chief executive officers of leading U.S. companies. Together, our member companies employ more than 12 million individuals and provide health care coverage to over 35 million American workers, retirees and their families. BRT is invested in addressing health care costs that hamper essential economic growth.
BRT is writing in response to the Final Rule on the Summary of Benefits and Coverage and the Uniform Glossary. Our members have demonstrated their appreciation for the significant value of educating employees about each health insurance coverage option, and will continue to do so. But the potential costs and complexity of the new requirements in this regulation are conservatively estimated to be over $100 million and none of these dollars will be allocated to benefits.
To this point, we are writing to ask that the Administration:
1) Immediately announce a delay of the effective date: The FAQ released last year assured employers and insurers that there would be “sufficient time” provided for implementation. The final rule only allows around six additional months – even though we, along with other employer organizations, asked for 18 months after final rules are released. We ask that you announce that the final rule will not be effective until after all specifications are complete and thoroughly vetted, not to be earlier than September 23, 2013.
2) Broaden flexibility for the large group market: While employers support the content of the summary of benefit form, we are concerned that the template form does not provide the ability for employers to accurately and efficiently provide employees with summary information. We ask that the Administration work closely with industry to specify additional flexibility.
We believe these two items are critical to assuring that precious health care dollars are not unnecessarily spent on an administrative function. We also believe additional discussions between employers and the Administration will lead to a form that is much more useful for our employees.
Every major employer organization petitioned the Administration for assistance on this issue. Thank you for your consideration of this request. Time is of the essence as many employers are starting to expend scarce and significant resources.
Director, Public Policy and Counsel