What is HIPAA?

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), (Public Law 104 – 191) consists of two major sections: Health Insurance Reform and Administrative Simplification. The Administrative Simplification section calls for the Department of Health and Human Services to develop standards for the format and content of health care transactions and includes provisions regarding:

  • Standardized electronic transaction formats and code sets
  • Universal provider, employer, health plan and patient identifiers
  • Security and privacy for the protection of individually identifiable patient information (make this a link to privacy rule section)
  • Penalties for non-compliance with transaction standards and wrongful disclosure of patient information

As of October 16, 2002, any organization that handles or stores electronic health care data must comply with HIPAA regulations. small health plans were mandated to be in compliance by October 16, 2003.

For more information on HIPPA, please visit HHS.gov.