Information Regarding Health Insurance Portability Laws

Health insurance portability laws fall under the provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1997 (HIPAA). HIPAA sets forth the requirements that allow employees to transfer from one employer-sponsored health insurance plan to another. With HIPAA, individuals with pre-existing conditions are able to participate in the new employer’s plan, after a probationary period has been satisfied without being denied coverage for their condition.

Prior Health Conditions

Prior to HIPAA, individuals that transferred from employer to employer found themselves sometimes without health insurance benefits. This was because of some health condition, for which they received treatment for prior to entering a new plan. The result would be denial of coverage or benefits and the person would end up without health insurance protection.

Portability of Health Insurance Benefits

Recognizing that the largest percentage of health insurance benefits are provided through employer-sponsored health insurance plans, Congress prohibited the practice of denying benefits to individuals based solely on their pre-existing condition. HIPAA allows the portability of health insurance benefits from plan to plan, permitting an insurance company to impose eligibility or waiting periods for new employees. It also allows for an exclusion of benefits for any pre-existing condition for a period of up to 12 months, after which any such condition must be covered.

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