The federal government has delayed implementing proposed changes to the Affordable Care Act’s Summary of Benefits and Coverage until January 2016.

The SBC is designed to provide group health plan members with an easy-to-understand summary of a health plan’s benefits and coverage. The new rules, proposed late December by the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and the Treasury, were to go into effect for the first open enrollment period beginning on or after Sept. 1, 2015.

Also see: Proposed changes to SBC concern large employers

Business groups, including the National Business Group on Health and the American Benefits Council, complained the implementation time frame did not give them enough time to comply.

“The delay gives employers more time to incorporate the requirements after the final format is approved. Employers should plan to continue issuing SBCs using the previous format until then,” says Steve Wojcik, vice president of public policy at the National Business Group on Health.

An FAQ on the DOL’s website says the departments anticipate the new SBC template will be finalized by January 2016 and will apply to coverage that would renew or begin on the first day of the first plan year that begins on or after Jan. 1, 2017.

Also see: SBC changes: What employers need to know

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