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Health Insurance Glossary

Definitions for common health insurance terms

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA)

DEFINITION: The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) allows persons to qualify immediately for comparable health insurance coverage when they change their employment or relationships.

It also creates the authority to mandate the use of standards for the electronic exchange of health care data; to specify what medical and administrative code sets should be used within those standards; to require the use of national identification systems for health care patients, providers, payers (or plans), and employers (or sponsors); and to specify the types of measures required to protect the security and privacy of personally identifiable health care.