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What is HIPAA?

One of the acronyms that has been bandied around since the health insurance regulation has passed is HIPAA. HIPAA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, an act that protects the privacy of health insurance consumers in a digital age and allows them some guarantee of insurance renewability if they are unable to replace their group insurance plan.

HIPAA-Protecting Your Privacy

The HIPAA act sets out certain administrative procedures that prevent unauthorized individuals and companies from getting their hands on your private health information. Under the act your health information becomes Private Health Information and allows you to choose how you can be contacted by an insurer or health agency, requires certain permissions to be granted and documents to be signed before records can be released and imposes a penalty on those who reveal or disclose your health information over the phone to unauthorized individuals.

Unfortunately, HIPAA regulations can make some things difficult in its intention of protecting your privacy. Your family might not be able to get medical information about your medical state when you are hospitalized and your insurance agent might not be given a reason why your insurance policy application was declined. HIPAA does not, however, affect your ability to apply got health insurance online.

Portability and Renewability

Re-existing conditions can be a big determinant in what type of insurance policy you can get. HIPAA prevents insurers from permanently excluding conditions that you have. In addition, it guarantees that you can get a health insurance policy after your COBRA benefits expire IF you are unable to get health insurance independently or through another group.

In order to utilize HIPAA portability and renewability benefits you must have carried creditable insurance coverage for a certain period of time (usually 6 months, but can vary by state). Creditable coverage doesn’t have a very good definition on any HIPAA website resources, but it is likely that it means a fully underwritten or group health insurance policy, which means that limited benefit coverages or major medical policies will likely not qualify as creditable coverage.

So remember when you get your health insurance online quote – HIPAA is there to protect you in many ways, even when you get your quotes online.

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