DEFINITION of 'Health Insurance Portability And Accountability Act - HIPAA'

An act created by the U.S Congress in 1996 that amends both the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and the Public Health Service Act (PHSA) in an effort to protect individuals covered by health insurance and to set standards for the storage and privacy of personal medical data.

BREAKING DOWN 'Health Insurance Portability And Accountability Act - HIPAA'

The HIPAA ensures that individual health care plans are accessible, portable, and renewable, and it sets the standards and the methods for how medical data is shared across the U.S. health system in order to prevent fraud. It pre-empts state law unless the state's regulations are more stringent.

This act has been modified since 1996 to include processes for safely storing and sharing patient medical information electronically. The act also has an administrative simplification provision, which is aimed at increasing efficiency and reducing administrative costs by establishing national standards.

Health insurers, health maintenance organizations (HMOs), healthcare billing services and other entities that handle sensitive personal medical information must comply with the standards set by the HIPAA. Noncompliance may result in civil or criminal penalties.

  1. HIPAA Waiver of Authorization

    A HIPAA waiver of authorization is a legal document that allows ...
  2. Portability

    An employee's ability or right to retain certain benefits when ...
  3. Commercial Health Insurance

    A type of health insurance that covers medical expenses and disability ...
  4. Health Insurance Marketplace

    Organizations that facilitate structured and competitive markets ...
  5. Employee Retirement Income Security ...

    The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) protects ...
  6. Blanket Medical Expense

    An insurance policy which provides coverage for all medical expenses ...
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