Q: What is HIPAA portability?
A: The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”) requires group health plans to follow certain requirements for the portability, special enrollment and nondiscrimination of those plans. These requirements were originally intended to make health coverage more portable for people who change jobs and prohibit discrimination based on health status. With the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in 2010 (ACA), many provisions of HIPAA became redundant, but they remain part of our laws. Specifically, HIPAA’s restrictions on how health plans apply preexisting condition exclusions and requirements for health plans to provide certificates of creditable coverage are still required, but not currently relevant due to the ACA. HIPAA’s requirement that employers permit special mid-year enrollments remains an important part of the law that employers must follow.