Frequently Asked Questions about Portability of Health Coverage and HIPAA

Frequently Asked Questions about Portability of Health Coverage and HIPAA:

One of the biggest fears faced by people losing (or even changing) their jobs is the fear of being exposed to a financially devastating health claim. This FAQ, from the U.S. Department of Labor, explains the major points of HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, the law outlining the rules employers and health plans must follow in providing you coverage under a new plan. The highlights:

1) If you have had continuous health coverage for 12 (or in some cases 18) months prior to joining a new health plan, that plan may not exclude pre-existing conditions

2) If you have had a break of 63 days (or longer if mandated by state law) in health coverage, the new plan may only excluded conditions for which you have received advice, diagnosis, care, or treatment in the 6 months preceding your first day of coverage under the new plan (or if there is a waiting period, the first day of the waiting period).

3) Conditions for which you have received treatment in the past but not in the last 6 months (e.g. allergies) are NOT pre-existing conditions.

4) Neither pregnancy nor genetic information without diagnosis or treatment may be deemed a pre-existing condition.

HIPAA was designed to take some of the fear out of losing your health coverage. Check out this site to get the full details.