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Feds require consumer-friendly health plan briefs

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By RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR
Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Obama administration says health plans must start providing more consumer-friendly summaries of coverage and costs so people will know what protection they have.

Officials are calling the summaries a "nutrition label for health care," naming it after those information panels found on packaged foods at the supermarket.

It's a new requirement of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, and one poll found that the summaries were the most popular provision in the massive law. Eventually all private and employer health plans will have to provide them.

The regulations that set a template for the summaries were issued Thursday.

Consumer representatives, insurers and employer groups are poring over the fine print to see how the administration balanced concerns about providing full disclosure while keeping compliance costs affordable for businesses.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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