State Guides on Protection Against the Loss of Health Insurance

Monitoring the implementation of the Kassebaum-Kennedy legislation

From 1997 to 1999, staff at Georgetown University Medical Center's Institute for Health Care Research and Policy monitored the early implementation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), commonly known as the Kassebaum-Kennedy legislation.

This law called for the states to implement, through state regulatory action, legislation that would protect people when they seek to buy, keep or switch their health insurance, even if they have a serious health condition.

Key Findings
In a report entitled The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA): Early Experience with "New Federalism" in Health Insurance Regulation, investigators reported the following key findings:

  • HIPAA added protections for people covered by group health plans, but did not significantly improve consumers' access to individual coverage.
  • Congress' failure to address certain issues, such as the affordability of health insurance, diluted the impact of the reforms.

Funding
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) supported this project through a grant of $374,556.

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