Note: Since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) health reform law took effect in January 2014, health insurance plans can no longer deny anyone coverage based on a pre-existing condition. The following information pertains to the original HIPAA regulations, before passage of the ACA.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 made changes to three areas of the continuing-coverage rules that apply to group health plans under COBRA:
- Beneficiaries may extend their COBRA coverage period from 18 months to 29 months if they become disabled within the first 60 days of COBRA continuation coverage. The 29-month period also applies to a disabled beneficiary’s nondisabled dependents. Under the old law, a beneficiary had to be deemed disabled (under the Social Security Act) at the time of the qualifying event to receive 29 months of COBRA continuation coverage.
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