HIPAA Online

Contact: Robert Turner
(334) 241-4190


This page provides an overview of HIPAA. More detailed information can be found on HIPAA OnLine.

HIPAA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. This law, passed by Congress in 1996, helps to protect your rights to health coverage during events such as changing or losing jobs, pregnancy, moving, or divorce. It also provides rights and protections for employers when getting and renewing health coverage for their employees. HIPAA is NOT an insurance policy.

HIPAA provides rights and protections for both group health plans and individual coverage. These rights and protections address:

Portability - Whether you can get new health coverage if you want to change coverage

Availability - Whether health coverage must be offered to you and your dependents

Renewability - Whether you are able to renew health coverage

Who does HIPAA protect?

HIPAA might protect you if you:

  • Have lost or are changing jobs
  • Are recently married or divorced
  • Are gaining new dependents through birth or adoption
  • Are moving from one State to another
  • Have preexisting conditions or other health factors that make it difficult to get health coverage
  • Have had health coverage and are now being denied coverage
  • Want to renew your health coverage
  • Are a small employer and want to buy health coverage for your employees
  • Are an employer and want to renew health coverage for your employees

What does HIPAA NOT do?


  • Require employers to offer health coverage
  • Regulate the cost of health coverage
  • Regulate the types of benefits that must be offered
  • Provide protections when you wish to change from one form of individual coverage to another

HIPAA and Group Health Plans

Important HIPAA rights and protections for group health plans include:

  • Limits on preexisting condition exclusions
  • Prohibition of discrimination based on health factors
  • Requirements for special enrollment opportunities for people who lose other group health coverage or gain new dependents, such as a spouse or a child
  • Requirements for certificates of creditable coverage
  • Guaranteed availability of group health plans for small employers
  • Guaranteed renewal of all group health plans at the option of the employer

HIPAA and Individual Coverage

Important HIPAA rights and protections for individual coverage include the following:

  • HIPAA-eligible individuals are guaranteed the right to purchase individual coverage
  • Preexisting condition exclusions are not allowed for HIPAA-eligible individuals
  • Certificates of creditable coverage are required
  • Individual health insurance coverage is guaranteed to be renewed