What has HIPAA in store for you when you switch jobs?

Times are tough and everyone with jobs is feeling that pang of uncertainty. It is the call of time that you switch jobs and look for those options which give you more security. The law gives you the desired health insurance coverage protection in case of switching between jobs with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), which took effect in April, 2003.

In order to get HIPAA coverage, you need to fulfil certain conditions. Your most recent cover which must have gone through at least 18 months of continuous coverage must have been through a health plan. There must be no entitlement under Medicaid or Medicare and you must have used up all your entitlement under COBRA. Also, you have the right to buy coverage only if you give notice under HIPAA within 63 days of losing your health plan coverage.

The good news is that the health insurers cannot refuse you a health policy on the basis of your medical history or pre-existing condition. They even cannot cause disadvantage to you by changing to a higher premium. Many state laws even pose a limit to the premium which can be charged by the insurers. So, you can get health insurance for you and your family without being afraid of unduly high premiums.

HIPAA also ensures that your personal medical history is kept confidential and is made available only to the “right” people to give you health insurance and handle claims for treatment. There are also penalties if your data is sent to an unauthorized person. In theory, this is supposed to make doctors, healthcare providers and hospitals more accountable if something goes wrong.

In short, you have the right to a copy of your health records and the right to know who has seen your data and the right to draw a limit as to who can access your data.