We considered a variety of combinations of distribution practices for health plans and are proposing what we believe is the most reasonable approach. We would require health plans to distribute the notice by the effective date of the final rule, at enrollment, within 60 days of a material change to the plan’s information practices, and at least once every three years.
We considered requiring health plans to post the notice either in addition to or instead of distribution. Because most individuals rarely visit the office of their health plan, we do not believe that this would be an effective means of communication. We also considered either requiring distribution of the notice more or less frequently than every three years. As compared to most health care providers, we believe that health plans often are larger and have existing administrative systems to cost effectively provide notification to individuals. Three years was chosen as a compromise between the importance of reminding individuals of their plans’ information practices and the need to keep the burden health plans to the minimum necessary to achieve this objective. We are soliciting comment on whether requiring a notice every three years is reasonable for health plans.