Written by Jacey Harmon
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Enacted in 1996, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is designed to help people buy and keep health insurance, even when they have serious pre-existing health conditions. The law allows protection for individuals and families when they lose their health insurance coverage for an assortment of reasons. Losing or changing jobs, pregnancy, moving and divorce are all situations that are protected under HIPAA.

HIPAA also enacted laws regarding the security and privacy of personal health information. Under the law, private health information is protected and this law is the first comprehensive federal law protecting health information privacy. HIPAA also required the Department of Health and Human Services to establish national standards for electronic health care transactions as well as national identifiers for providers, health plans, and employers.

HIPAA Compliance

There are many organizations spread across multiple health industries affected by HIPAA regulations. Any organization that deals with health care information, such as hospitals, clinics, research organizations and insurance companies, must be compliant with privacy standards set forth through HIPAA. Insurance companies need to be sure they have a clear understanding of the many scenarios where a person must be covered. Health care organizations must use the national standards for recording transactions and other information.

There are many resources available for HIPAA compliance, from information provided through government and organizations' websites to online courses or seminars. Information for both consumers and organizations is available on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services website. The CMMS is responsible for the implementation of many HIPAA regulations.

Courses are available that can educate employees and businesses how to organize and implement HIPAA compliant policies. Courses can cover topics that are specific for each aspect of the law. Privacy courses, security courses, auditing courses and complete introduction courses are available. Certification courses are available for professionals who are interested in becoming a certified HIPAA administrator, professional, or security specialist.

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