The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) requires that employers begin issuing what's called a Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC) on the first day of the company's open enrollment period for group health insurance commencing on or after Sept. 23, 2012. 

Thus if a company's open enrollment period runs from Nov. 1 to Dec. 31, for example, the SBCs must be issued to all enrollees and dependents on Nov. 1, the first day of the enrollment period. (In the unlikely event that an open enrollment period actually commenced on Sunday, Sept. 23, the SBCs would have to be issued that day.)

Also, those who purchase private health insurance must be issued an SBC starting Sept. 23 as well.

The SBC is different from the Summary Plan Description required by the Employee Retirement and Income Security Act (ERISA). Sample SBCs and a template can be found on the Health and Human Services website.