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Jennifer L. Rathburn quoted in article “Million-Dollar Babies Should Have Been Non-Issue for AOL”

NBC News

Some workers may worry that they may be targeted by their employers if they start running up health costs. But it’s unlikely for several reasons, including two laws that protect workers: the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, known widely as ERISA, and well as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA.

HIPAA means Armstrong almost certainly did not know the specific details of the two cases, says Jennifer Rathburn, a health care expert at Quarles and Brady, LLP, a Milwaukee law firm. “There is a separation between the health plan and the employer,” she said. Employers who are self-insured must use a third-party administrator, usually a major insurance company, to handle the details of the coverage, and these administrators can pass along only aggregated information on the costs.

Originally published on NBC News, February 11, 2014