HIPAA legislation was first brought in 1996. In its initial form, the legislation assisted in ensuring that employees would go on receiving health insurance coverage when they were between employment. The legislation also required healthcare groups to put in place controls to safeguard patient data to stop healthcare fraud, although it took many years for the rules for doing so to be written.
HIPAA also brought in many several new standards that were aimed at improving efficiency in the healthcare sector, requiring healthcare organizations to adopt the standards to reduce the paperwork burden. Code sets had to be used in tandem with patient identifiers, which helped pave the way for the effective transfer of healthcare data between healthcare organizations and insurers, streamlining eligibility checks, billing, payments, and other healthcare jobs.
HIPAA also eliminates the tax-deduction of interest on life insurance loans, strengthens group health insurance requirements, and standardizes the amount that may be saved in a pre-tax medical savings account.
HIPAA is a thorough legislative act incorporating the requirements of many other legislative acts, such as the Public Health Service Act, Employee Retirement Income Security Act, and more recently, the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act.
Security & Health Data Privacy
HIPAA is now best known for securing the privacy of patients and ensuring patient data is appropriately safeguarded, with those requirements added by the HIPAA Privacy Rule of 2000 and the HIPAA Security Rule of 2003. The requirement for alerting people of a breach of their health information was introduced in the Breach Notification Rule in 2009.
The aim of the HIPAA Privacy Rule was to bring in restrictions on the allowable uses and disclosures of protected health information, stating when, with whom, and under what circumstances, health information could be shared. Another important focus of the HIPAA Privacy Rule was to give patients access to their health data on request. The aim of the HIPAA Security Rule is mainly to ensure electronic health data is appropriately safeguarded, access to electronic health data is controlled, and an auditable trail of PHI activity is kept.
So, in short, what is the aim of HIPAA? To enhance efficiency in the healthcare sector, to improve the portability of health insurance, to safeguard the privacy of patients and health plan members, and to ensure health information is kept safe and patients are notified of violations of their health data.