You may chuckle a bit as I did on the font, but in reality this is a good thing as even the federal government consumer agencies are tackling this item too. It’s a way of somewhat hiding full stipulations and information and the practice has been around for years. Perhaps with the way technology and transparency is moving today we might seen “fine print” coming to an end eventually? It’s certainly not in place to benefit consumers as we all know. As stated below the work from this group to make health insurance policies more user friendly will be sent to HHS with the recommendations, with a minimal 12 point font. BD
"It will force the insurance companies to reveal information in a consistent way," says Bonnie Burns, a policy specialist for California Health Advocates, a consumer health advocacy group. "And it should make it easier for people to understand what they're getting and not getting."
Under a little-known provision of the health overhaul law, insurers will be required to provide their benefits information on a standardized chart using the same plain English terms as other companies to help shoppers understand and compare complicated policies. Congress even listed some of the insurance jargon -- including terms such as deductible, preferred provider, excluded services and UCR (usual, customary and reasonable) -- that must be defined in a glossary that will accompany the benefit summary. It directed the National Association of Insurance Commissioners to form a group to develop the materials and specified that the group include state insurance regulators, consumer and patient advocates, insurance companies and health care providers.
The law even forbids the dreaded "fine print," by specifying at least a 12-point type size (larger than typical newsprint). Any exceptions or limitations to coverage must be included along with the out-of-pocket costs that plan members can expect to pay.
After the vote, the materials, which were adopted unanimously by the working group, will be sent to the Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Labor. Those departments will issue regulations spelling out how insurance companies and employers must use the materials. The new system must be in place by March 2012.