Health Information and Privacy (HIPAA)
Author: Jayne Zanglein, Western Carolina University
Updating Author: Tracy Morley, XpertHR Legal Editor
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA):
- Protects health insurance coverage for employees and their dependents that lose coverage or change jobs. See Portability of Health Care Coverage.
- Was strengthened by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). See Portability of Health Care Coverage.
- Prohibits discrimination against workers based on health status and genetic information. See Nondiscrimination Rules.
- Phases out annual and lifetime dollar limits on essential health benefits. See Benefits and Benefit Plan Changes.
- Allows group health plans to offer different benefits and charge different premiums as an incentive to participate in a wellness program. See Wellness Programs.
- Establishes privacy rules designed to safeguard protected health information (PHI). See Medical Privacy Under HIPAA.
- Establishes security rules designed to safeguard electronic PHI (ePHI). See HIPAA's Security Rule.
- Was bolstered by the Health Information and Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act. See HIPAA Breach Notification Rule.
- Provides significant penalties for HIPAA violations. See Enforcement Provisions.
- Requires the use of a standard unique health plan identifier to streamline standard transactions. See Health Plan Identifier (HPID).