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HIPAA while still insured
Jul 3, 2003

Can I apply for a "guaranteed issue" health insurance policy even if I am currently still enrolled in a group health insurance?

I've read about the requirement to have used up one's Cobra benefits first. Is this a requirement because the insurance companies are basically being legally forced to write these policies, so they won't do so unless the applicant has no other alternatives?

My group policy rates have skyrocketed, so I thought I'd shop for other policies (but I won't qualify for an underwritten policy).


Response from Ms. Franzoi

The coverage that is "guaranteed issue" would be under a HIPAA policy. Under HIPAA, each health insurance issuer that offers health insurance coverage in the individual market in a state may not decline to offer coverage or deny enrollment to an eligible individual and may not impose any pre-existing condition exclusions with respect to that coverage. However, this requirement doesn't apply to health insurance offered in the individual market in a state that has implemented an alternate health insurance availability mechanism.

You are correct that you must exhaust your COBRA coverage before you will be eligible for a HIPAA policy. This is pursuant to the law that mandates the offering of a HIPAA policy.

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