In 1996 the federal government in the USA passed the HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). In essence, this act says that if a person is insured by group insurance for at least 18 months and then goes on “COBRA” (state continuance insurance once you go off company insurance) for 18 months (if COBRA is available), they cannot be denied health insurance by any health insurance company in America.
Thus, long-term group insurance makes it possible for all of your workers to have guaranteed health insurance for the rest of their lives. How does this work? Here is an example: John and Mary work with your organization for 15 years. John develops a bad case of melanoma, a very serious form of skin cancer. He has international insurance, an individual plan, but now wants to return to live in the USA. Thus, he will drop his international insurance because he is not living outside the USA. His problem now is that no company in the USA will insure him with individual health insurance. His melanoma makes him an “automatic decline” as far as health insurance goes.
But if John and Mary are covered under “long-term group insurance” through your organization, once they come home they can immediately apply for COBRA insurance for the next 18 months; and, if they then immediately apply for HIPAA insurance, no insurance company in America can decline to cover them. The fact that they were on group insurance while overseas assures them of the option of lifelong individual health insurance coverage once they return to the USA.
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