Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA)

Published: | Updated: April 6, 2018

Definition - What does Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) mean?

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is legislation designed to create protective measures for the sharing and handling of health insurance data and for the proper treatment of individuals covered by health insurance. It also amends the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and the Public Health Service Act (PHSA).

HIPAA is also known as the Kennedy-Kassebaum Act, named after Senators Edward Kennedy and Nancy Kassebaum, who sponsored this piece of legislation.

Insuranceopedia explains Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA)

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act contains five different sections that include protection against denial of coverage for people who have pre-existing conditions, protection for people who change jobs, and prohibition of lifetime coverage limits. HIPPA also focuses heavily on setting standards for the proper handling of medical data. This is to ensure the privacy of patients and to prevent sensitive data from getting in the hands of people who should not have access to it. HIPAA has been amended since 1996 to include standards for the handling of electronic data.


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