The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a law passed by Congress in 1996 designed to protect individuals and families who need to buy, change or continue health insurance coverage.

These protections include the following:

  • Limiting pre-existing conditions exclusions
  • Prevents denial of coverage based on another family member’s health problems.
  • Guarantees health insurance coverage can be purchased even you lose your job and current coverage.
  • Usually guarantees coverage can be renewed no matter any health conditions in your family.

HIPAA does not apply to all situations but it will usually decrease your chances of losing existing coverage and ease your ability to change plans. It also gives you peace-of-mind that you will still have coverage even if you lose your job.

There is also a feature of the HIPAA called “creditable coverage” which is the health insurance you had before you started your new plan. Creditable coverage can be used to offset pre-existing condition exclusions as long as your coverage was not interrupted for 63 or more days.

In a nutshell what this means is if you were covered by your previous insurance for a year or more and you started new coverage within 63 days of the old, you cannot be subjected to pre-existing condition exclusion.