The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HR 3103) became law on August 21, 1996. Most of its provisions will take effect on July 1, 1997. This new law, among other things, will prohibit group health plans and health insurers from excluding preexisting conditions from coverage for longer than 12 months, less any creditable prior coverage. Once covered, a condition cannot be excluded from future coverage. In addition, group plans and health insurers will no longer be able to make coverage dependent on health status, medical condition, claims experience, receipt of health care, medical history, genetic information or disability. This law also amends COBRA provisions, and makes many other changes which you will receive more information about in the future.