Prior to HIPAA, there were growing concerns over the safety, privacy and security of a patient's health information and misuse of that information.
Development of HIPAA
Multiple, well-publicized breaches of health information (electronic information hacked and improper disposal of medical files) placed pressure on the government to protect people's information.
In 1996, the government focused on six issues that became HIPAA law: "improve the ability to carry insurance; combat health care waste, fraud and abuse; promote medical savings accounts; improve long-term care coverage; simplify health insurance; provide a means to pay for reforms."
HIPAA affects "covered entities" like health care providers, insurance plans and claim companies and other health care businesses. There are penalties for covered entities that fail to comply with HIPAA.
The general public is affected by HIPAA only in that it has a right to have health information and insurance protected. The public is not required to meet specific standards for HIPAA law.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was signed into law in 1996 during President Clinton's administration. The law mainly addresses health insurance coverage for people who lose jobs and the privacy, security and sharing of health information.