The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was passed by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996. Its main components included creating protections for individuals with health insurance, increasing federal regulation of the health insurance industry, and setting federal standards for the electronic storage and transmission of individual health information. The term HIPAA is used to refer to the 1996 act as well as its umbrella of subsequent and related rules, standards, modifications, and amendments. Although initially noted for its protections of insured Americans with preexisting conditions, subsequent references to HIPAA are more likely to concern its rules about the privacy and security of health information. Before describing the act and its amendments in more detail, and ...

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