Beginning with open enrollment periods on or after September 23, 2012, employers subject to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act must provide employees with a Summary of Benefits and Coverage. The SBC is a plain-language tool for employees to compare medical plan options offered by the employer.

Summary Plan Descriptions required under ERISA, meanwhile, are often dense, complex documents. In fact, the Employee Benefit Research Institute found that SPDs are more difficult to understand than graduate school material.

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