What to do when COBRA runs out?
We're into murky waters with questions about losing or switching employment. No-one wants to think about times of uncertainty, but if the economy continues its current problems, you have to plan round the jobs you have and can get. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), which took effect in April, 2003, was designed to give you some protection for health insurance coverage when you are switching between jobs.
To get HIPAA coverage, your most recent cover must have been through a health plan. In total, you must have had at least eighteen months of continuous coverage. There must be no entitlement under Medicaid or Medicare and you must have used up all your entitlement under COBRA. If you give notice under HIPAA within 63 days of losing your health plan coverage, you have the right to buy cover. The health insurers cannot refuse you a health policy based on your medical history or pre-existing condition, nor can they change you a higher premium to deter you. In fact, many states have laws to limit what health insurers can charge in this situation. Thus, you have a right to get health insurance for you and your family and the premiums may be controlled. This is something you should investigate. Here health insurance online quotes may be of great use for you.
There are also privacy provisions to help keep your personal medical history confidential while making it available to the right people to give you health insurance and handle claims for treatment. HIPAA sets out national standards for handling health data to reduce the risks that your data is lost or stolen. 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. As a first step, you have the right to a copy of your health records. Most data processors make a handling charge for preparing the copy, but it is usually small. You also have the right to know who has seen your data and you can lay down limits on access. It's in your interests to take an active interest. You should maintain the accuracy of your records and ensure that only authorized individuals are allowed to access it in appropriate circumstances.