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Overview
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, known as HIPAA, includes important new - but limited - protections for millions of working Americans and their families. HIPAA may:

Increase your ability to get health coverage for yourself and your dependents if you start a new job; Lower your chance of losing existing health care coverage, whether you have that coverage through a job, or through individual health insurance; Help you maintain continuous health coverage for yourself and your dependents when you change jobs; and
Help you buy health insurance coverage on your own if you lose coverage under an employer's group health plan and have no other health coverage available. 

Among its specific protections, HIPAA: Limits the use of pre-existing condition exclusions; Prohibits group health plans from discriminating by denying you coverage or charging you extra for coverage based on your or your family member's past or present poor health; Guarantees certain small employers, and certain individuals who lose job-related coverage, the right to purchase health insurance; and Guarantees, in most cases, that employers or individuals who purchase health insurance can renew the coverage regardless of any health conditions of individuals covered under the insurance policy.
 
In short, HIPAA may lower your chance of losing existing coverage, ease your ability to switch health plans and/or help you buy coverage on your own if you lose your employer's plan and have no other coverage available.

For more information on HIPAA, please click on the 5 Steps to Understanding How HIPAA May Affect You.



Misunderstandings About HIPAA
Although HIPAA helps protect you and your family in many ways, you should understand what it does NOT do.

HIPAA does NOT require employers to offer or pay for health coverage for employees or family coverage for their spouses and dependents;
HIPAA does NOT guarantee health coverage for all workers;
HIPAA does NOT control the amount an insurer may charge for coverage;
HIPAA does NOT require group health plans to offer specific benefits;
HIPAA does NOT permit people to keep the same health coverage they had in their old job when they move to a new job;
HIPAA does NOT eliminate all use of pre-existing condition exclusions; and
HIPAA does NOT replace the State as the primary regulator of health insurance.



Amendments to HIPAA
Women's Health and Cancer Rights Act
Mental Health Parity Act
Newborns' and Mothers' Health Protection Act



Statutory Text
HIPAA Title I Statutory Text (PDF)

Note: The information on this group of web pages concerns the Insurance Reform provisions of HIPAA and are separate from the Administrative Simplification (AS) provisions of HIPAA. Administrative Simplification is intended to reduce the costs and administrative burdens of health care by making possible the standardized, electronic transmission of many administrative and financial transactions that are currently carried out manually on paper. Information on Administrative Simplification may be found at: http://aspe.os.dhhs.gov/admnsimp.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014