Patient’s Guide to HIPAA

This guide explains how you can use the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) to protect your medical privacy.

This guide, subtitled "How to Use the Law to Guard your Health Privacy," was prepared by Robert Gellman for the World Privacy Forum, with assistance from Pam Dixon, executive director World Privacy Forum, John Fanning, former privacy advocate, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Dr. Lewis Lorton, health technology and privacy expert.

You can't get very far into health privacy without running across the acronym HIPAA, which stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, a 1996 federal statute. Although many people associate HIPAA just with health privacy, the Act actually covers many topics unrelated to privacy. The part of the Act relevant to privacy directed the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to write a health privacy rule, which took effect in 2003.

HIPAA is the most important federal health privacy law for almost everybody. Most of this guide explains what you should know about HIPAA. This guide also highlights some other federal laws that may be relevant to health privacy.

Go To: Patient’s Guide to HIPAA




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