HEALTH INSURANCE PORTABILITY AND ACCOUNTABILITY ACT (HIPAA)

A law passed in 1996 which is also sometimes called the "Kassebaum-Kennedy" law. This law expands your health care coverage if you have lost your job, or if you move from one job to another, HIPAA protects you and your family if you have: pre-existing medical conditions, and/or problems getting health coverage, and you think it is based on past or present health. HIPAA also:

limits how companies can use your pre-existing medical conditions to keep you from getting health insurance coverage;

usually gives you credit for health coverage you have had in the past;

may give you special help with group health coverage when you lose coverage or have a new dependent;

and generally, guarantees your right to renew your health coverage. HIPAA does not replace the states' roles as primary regulators of insurance.

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