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How can consumers compare benefits and understand what a plan covers?

Today, every insurance company and group health plan must give consumers a Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC) and glossary of commonly-used terms both before they enroll and each year at plan renewal time. Through an SBC, consumers can compare insurance options based on covered benefits, excluded services, deductibles and out-of-pocket costs, as well as other features that may be important to them.

An SBC is designed to help consumers compare plans and understand the benefits and coverage limits of their plan in clear and concise language.

In addition to getting an SBC, starting on October 1, 2013, when the Health Insurance Marketplace opens, consumers also will be able to get information about the health plan options available online at the Health Insurance Marketplace website at healthcare.gov, through the Marketplace's toll-free telephone number, 800-318-2596, or from agents, navigators or certified application counselors.

A copy of the form for an SBC.

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