1. 1450 POINTS
    Fred Adams
    The HSA Expert, Health Revival, Athens, GA
    When it comes to health insurance, portability is the ability to take your coverage with you when you move, either your residence of jobs. When it comes to moving to another state, you can typically only take your insurance policy with you if the company offers coverage in both states. As it relates to employer coverage, portability refers to whether or not you can keep your employer sponsored plan once you are no longer employed. While COBRA coverage does allow one to temporarily maintain their group plan, at a higher price, the lack of true portability of an employer plan is one reason many individuals are better off obtaining their own individual policy.
    Answered on September 9, 2014
  2. 5527 POINTS
    Marlin McKelvy
    President, Consumer Directed Benefit Solutions, Memphis, Tennessee
    This is a very pertinent question in the era of ObamaCare. As the term "portability" implies, this is the ability for a person to own and take their health insurance coverage with them regardless of their employment circumstances. The concern about portability of health insurance coverage flows from the history in our nation where for many decades most working Americans received their health insurance coverage through their employer. In an era where many people would work for the same company for most, if not all, of their working life, there was little concern about losing access to health insurance coverage. As our global economy and the American workforce have evolved over the last generation and it is now common for a person to work for multiple companies over the course of their working lives and having your health insurance tied to your place of employment has become more problematic for some people and become a social, business and political issue.

    A common example is the person who works for a company that provides health insurance benefits to its employees and this person has a pre-existing health condition like diabetes or has a covered dependent with a chronic health problem requiring expensive ongoing care that is covered by their current employer's health plan. One day this employee may be presented with a job opportunity with another company that offers them a promotion and an increase in pay that would further their career but this prospective new employer does not offer health insurance to its employees. Losing their current employer's health coverage might have left this person or their dependents uninsurable or faced with such high out-of-pocket expenses for individual health insurance and out-of-pocket expenses that these factors would negate the new job opportunity being offered this person. Similar examples can be given for the person who wants to leave and start their own business, medical cost issues have made it difficult, if not impossible, for some people to pursue such opportunities. This is what is referred to as "Job Lock".

    One of the positive aspects of ObamaCare is that with its guaranteed issue and no pre-existing conditions exclusions or coverage waiting period requirements, people are guaranteed access to individual or small group health insurance. Technically, this does break the chains of "job lock" for such persons. Please note though, that I stressed the changes made by ObamaCare have removed barriers to access to health insurance. Depending upon the income level of the person, it (ObamaCare) may or may not remove the cost barriers associated with getting health insurance due to the resulting increases in health insurance rates we have seen and are seeing. But, in the ideal scenario, these new provisions of the health law provide persons with the security of owning their own health insurance coverage that is not tied to their place of employment thus eliminating concerns about "job lock" and freeing them to pursue other professional or personal goals that they might not have otherwise been able to address.
    Answered on September 21, 2014
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