There’s a lot of talk in the news about COBRA, the federal law that gives recently laid off workers the right to keep their employer-sponsored group health insurance for a temporary period of time.

What’s not discussed as much is a related law called HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which gives you additional rights when it comes to accessing health insurance coverage.

The HIPAA law was passed in 1996 and typically applies to Americans who switch group health plans, or those who move to the individual health insurance market from employer-based coverage.

So what exactly is HIPAA? And how does it protect me?

Understanding How HIPAA Works

One of the main provisions in HIPAA is that it protects your insurance coverage when you change jobs. The law ensures you maintain coverage for any of your “pre-existing” health conditions.

If you have a heart condition, for example, HIPAA requires that your new insurance company cover your medical expenses for your heart health. If HIPAA didn’t exist, your new plan could exclude coverage for any procedure that related to the heart condition.

Under HIPAA, you are also guaranteed to be able to purchase an individual health insurance plan through a private insurer. The catch in the individual market is that insurance companies aren’t required to sell particular plans to HIPAA-eligible applicants, so HIPAA plans can be fairly expensive.

But you do need to meet certain qualifications to ensure you’re covered under the HIPAA law.

To be protected under HIPAA:

  • You can’t have a break of insurance coverage longer than 63 days
  • You must have been covered by your former plan for at least 12 months

Your previous plan must also be considered by federal law as “creditable.” Here’s a list of qualifying creditable plans:

  • Employer-sponsored group health insurance
  • Government programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and TriCare
  • Plans included in the Federal Employees Health Benefit Program
  • Plans from state or local governments or the Indian Health Service

HIPAA also protects your privacy and security when it comes to the passing of sensitive information about your medical history.

Finding a HIPAA Health Plan

To learn if you might qualify for a Florida HIPAA health insurance plan then be sure to first compare instant Florida health insurance quotes by entering your zip code above and then call one of our independent Florida health insurance agents at the 800 # above.