KFF fact sheet on portability of health insurance under the ACA: Portability of health insurance is the ability of an employee to maintain access to coverage and comprehensive benefits after leaving a job and the ability of individuals purchasing insurance on their own to drop one policy and buy another. A four-page fact sheet explains how portability is regulated under current law and how the ACA will affect portability in 2014. Because many ACA provisions do not take effect until 2014, the 1996 federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act provides the only current federal protections for employees leaving job-based coverage, after they have exhausted their COBRA benefits. Implementation of ACA provisions in 2014, such as on guaranteed access and preexisting conditions, will bring significant changes to portability rules in the individual market. Those seeking coverage on their own will shift from a system in which the federal government did very little to ensure portability to one in which portability is guaranteed. Insurers will also no longer be able to restrict benefits because of a pre-existing condition for individuals who change plans. However, individuals may be required to enroll in coverage during an annual open-enrollment period, although special enrollment periods will be available in the wake of certain life circumstances, such as leaving a job or having a baby. In the insurance market for smaller employers, 2014 will bring smaller but still significant changes. For both individual and small-group markets, state regulators will be the enforcers of these standards, and many states may wish to amend their laws to provide their regulators with clear authority to enforce the ACA’s new standards. The fact sheet, which was prepared for KFF by the Center on Health Insurance Reforms of the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute, is available at www.kff.org/healthreform/upload/8421.pdf.