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Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act

HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act, is federal legislation designed to provide portability of health insurance coverage, standardize electronic interchange of health information, and assure the privacy of protected health information (PHI).

HIPAA was enacted as a part of a broad Congressional attempt at health care reform. While HIPAA's initial focus is to guarantee the portability of health insurance, the Act also is designed to: 1) reduce the costs and administrative burdens of health care by making possible the standardized electronic transmission of many administrative and financial transactions that are currently carried out on paper, and 2) protect the security and confidentiality of personally identifiable health information (PHI).