Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is a federal law developed to:
- improve the portability of health coverage for people who lose or change employment,
- promote administrative simplification through the use of electronic transaction, and
- ensure the security and privacy Protected Health Information (PHI).
HIPAA imposes certain requirements on group health plans as follows:
- Limitations on pre-existing condition exclusion periods;
- Special enrollment periods for individuals (and dependents) losing other coverage;
- Prohibitions against discriminating against individual participants and beneficiaries based on health status;
- Standards relating to benefits for mothers and newborns;
- Parity in the application of certain limits to mental health benefits; and
- Required coverage for reconstructive surgery following mastectomies.