The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act is the main safeguard for the private healthcare data of Americans. It makes sure that individuals can play a full role in the management of their healthcare data, including addressing errors, and also places obligations on healthcare groups in relation to how this data is stored, secure and shared.
HIPAA is often regarded as a pivotal legislative Act that impacts all parts of the U.S. healthcare industry. Despite this many healthcare professionals often complain about the limitations enforced by HIPAA.
The legislation was passed in 1996 in order to protect the health insurance status or workers from from one position to another somewhere else. In addition to this, the legislation also required healthcare organizations to create controls to secure patient data to address healthcare fraud, although it took several years for the rules for doing so to be formally agreed.
It set in place many new standards that were created to improve efficiency in the healthcare industry, requiring healthcare bodies to adopt the standards to address the paperwork burden. Code sets had to be deployed in line with patient identifiers, which helped pave the way for the simple transfer of healthcare data between healthcare organizations and insurers, streamlining eligibility reviews, billing, payments, and other healthcare requirements.
HIPAA also brought an end to the tax-deduction of interest on life insurance loans, enforces group health insurance requirements, and regulates the amount that may be saved in a pre-tax medical savings account.
HIPAA is an in depth legislative act that combines the requirements of many other legislative acts, including the Public Health Service Act, Employee Retirement Income Security Act, and more recently, the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act.
HIPAA is chiefly known for protecting the privacy of patients and ensuring patient data is appropriately kept safe, with those requirements put in place by the HIPAA Privacy Rule of 2000 and the HIPAA Security Rule of 2003. The requirement for advising individuals of a breach of their health information was introduced in the Breach Notification Rule in 2009.
The HIPAA Privacy Rule was introduced to place restrictions on the allowable uses and disclosures of protected health information, enshrining when, with whom, and under what circumstances, health information could be shared. Another important goal of the HIPAA Privacy Rule was to allocate patients access to their health data when they desire it. Finally, the HIPAA Security Rule seeks to ensure electronic health data is appropriately kept safe, access to electronic health data is controlled, and an auditable trail of PHI tasks is maintained.
In essence, HIPAA seeks to improve efficiency in healthcare while improving the portability of health insurance, safeguarding the privacy of patients and health plan members and guaranteeing that health information is kept secure and patients are advised regarding breaches of their private healthcare information.