Summary of Benefits & Coverage (SBC) and Uniform Glossary

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The ACA requires all employers that sponsor group health plans (regardless of size and ALE status) to provide Summaries of Benefits and Coverage (SBCs) to all applicants upon initial eligibility and again at renewal or Open Enrollment. These SBCs are uniform across all carriers and virtually all plans in the individual and small group markets. The uniformity of these documents allows consumers to compare plans logically to others. Health insurance carriers are responsible for creating SBCs for their health plans. Employers with self-funded plans are generally required to create their own SBCs.

In addition to the Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC), employers (of any size) sponsoring group health plans are required to distribute a Uniform Glossary of Coverage and Medical Terms to help employees and consumers understand all items and information listed in the SBC. The Uniform Glossary is available from the Department of Labor at

In addition to ACA requirements, most employers sponsoring health plans are also required to create and distribute Summary Plan Descriptions (SPDs) for plans under ERISA law.