Health Insurance Regulation:

National Portability Standards Would Facilitate Changing Health Plans

T-HEHS-95-205: Published: Jul 18, 1995. Publicly Released: Jul 18, 1995.

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GAO discussed health insurance regulation, focusing on the: (1) status of state and federal health insurance reforms; and (2) number of individuals who would be potentially affected by national portability standards. GAO noted that: (1) federal and state laws reflect steps taken to improve the portability of health insurance, but the possibility remains that an individual's coverage would be reduced when changing jobs; (2) most private health plans still require waiting periods before making people with preexisting conditions fully eligible for coverage; (3) about 21 million Americans would benefit from legislation waiving preexisting condition exclusions for individuals who have maintained continuous health care coverage; (4) as many as 4 million Americans who have been hesitant to leave their employer because of concerns about losing their health care coverage would benefit from the proposed legislation; and (5) the insurance industry's response to such reforms remains unclear, as premium increases are possible.

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