What HIPAA Stands For: Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act

hipaa stands forHIPAA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Enabled in 1996, HIPAA is all about portability. In other words, it is the way your family and yourself can have continued health insurance through unemployment or changes in your job. Thanks to HIPAA, just as there are portable employees, not there is portable health insurance. Decades ago, throughout an entire career, people stayed in one or two jobs. In those days there was no need for people to have HIPAA, since they had stable jobs. These days, however, in a time where there is constant change in careers and jobs, it can make a big difference to your family’s and your welfare to have HIPAA.

Here is a course entitled Understanding HIPAA for the Medical Office that is a guide for healthcare professionals to understanding all the HIPAA requirements.

Your Information Is Protected

For the first time, the HIPAA Rule of Privacy will create a national standard to protect personal health information and medical records of individuals. This will make violators accountable with imposed criminal and civil penalties when these apply. It established appropriate safeguards that providers of health care need to achieve to protect health information privacy and it sets boundaries on the release and use of health records. It also gives patients more control over their information of health.

Portable Health Insurance

The two goals of HIPAA include making healthcare have more accountability in terms of cost by increasing effectiveness and efficiency through simplification of administration and by reducing fraud. The other goal is to make health insurance more portable, and thus more accessible. Mainly, this means that in some cases, eliminating or restricting the practices of excluding individuals from coverage because of conditions that are pre-existing. Here is an article you might want to check out entitled Biometric Screening: Testing for a Healthy and Happy Workforce.

What HIPAA is Not

You need to understand what HIPAA is not to really understand what it is. HIPAA does not guarantee that you will keep your insurance of health after a change of jobs, or that you will even have insurance. However, provisions of HIPAA do help you in having insurance even throughout the transitions you go through. If you lose the coverage of insurance provided by a previous employer, HIPAA can help you get other insurance. Here is a course entitled HealthCare Reform Principles that goes over the new Affordable Care Act and gives suggestions on improvements by Dr. George Flinn. In this course you get all the essentials of the reform in health care from a radiologist serving the community of radiology for more than thirty-five years.

What HIPAA Covers

The privacy rule of HIPAA covers all personal health information or identifiable information about patients maintained by or transferred to healthcare providers including phone conversations, voice mail records, oral, paper, fax, electronic or email records. Rules of HIPAA do not protect the record where the information appears but rather protect the information itself. To put this another way, information doesn’t become less protected just because it is printed or stored from a computer. Even to this day, there is a lot of confusion that exists in different industries with regard to the requirements for compliance, who needs not to worry about compliance and who must comply. Most organizations of healthcare need to have complied with the privacy ruling of HIPAA since the fourteenth of April, 2003. However, a lot of organizations including employees in large amounts will be affected by this ruling. As a matter of fact, at least indirectly, the privacy rule of HIPAA will impact every organization in one way or another. Here is a course entitled the US Healthcare Industry: Changes and Opportunities that is an insider’s look at changes made recently in the US healthcare industry brought on by Obamacare and the pressure to get costs lowered.

What This Means to You

The real crux of HIPAA is administrative simplification. This means that healthcare will be improved by standardizing data like financial or administrative data transactions, identification numbers while protecting privacy of information transmitted and security. Mandatory compliance will engender changes that are profound in system implementation and procedures that support them. Noncompliance will cost a lot not only because organizations that are non-compliant will lose business if they can’t communicate with compliant organizations but also because of actual penalties.

Hope this helps! Here is a course entitled Understanding and Complying with HIPAA that is a program which is going to train you on what HIPAA is and provide an overview on the rules that govern protected health information.