What is HIPAA?

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a bill that was created by the United States Congress in 1996 and was enforced in 1997. The reason behind the creation of this act was to prevent abuse, fraud and waste of health insurance, health delivery, and other aspects of health. On top of that, the hope was that the level of health care would increase because of the rules set out by the law. It states the rules that needs to be adhered when it comes to health insurance, and the legal complications that would arise if the rules are not followed.

HIPAA is broken down into two parts. The first is what was mentioned above. A common scenario for people is that they have a job for years, but suddenly, they lose it for whatever reason. In the past, employers would just stop paying their health insurance and suddenly these people would be without health care. What HIPAA guaranteed was the safety of a person’s health insurance if they lost their job while they were looking to get a new one. On top of that, it ensures that patients with preexisting issues are still given some sort of health insurance.

The second part of HIPAA is where the rules have been laid regarding abuse of the health care. The passing of this bill has led to a steep fall in fraud and scamming in the field of health care. However, that wasn’t the most important part of HIPAA. More important than the fraud control and the other new measures introduced, was the creation of a system in which health care documents could be passed electronically.

There is nothing more petrifying than someone gaining access to your healthcare files. It is no one else’s business what is or is not wrong with you. Therefore, what HIPAA did in its second part was create an acceptable method of transport of these files electronically. The motive behind this was that not only would a patient’s medical records be safe, but on top of that, it would promote a more effective and efficient health care system as it would encourage the use of this electronic data interchange.

Despite the fact that this was an amazing idea, the common consensus is that with every great idea, there has to be something that is bad on the flip side. One of the largest issues was the cost of adopting the new methods. Due to all the extra paperwork and filing that needed to be done, private practices had to hire more help to ensure all the paperwork got done. Economically, this is never good for a small business, so many small medical practioners were not very pleased with these changes.

All in all, HIPAA did something that was very important. Patients were guaranteed health insurance and even had some sort of a guarantee for insurance if they had a pre-existing  medical condition. Also, their files and  documents were safe when they were being transported electronically. Despite the fact that it cost money, the abuse that was going on in the healthcare world needed to be combated. HIPAA was able to set aside the particular rules that needed to be followed to ensure the efficient functioning of the world of health care. It has definitely worked.