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The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA)

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) impacts a wide variety of features of the U.S. health care system.  Its best known and most important provisions affect the portability of health coverage, and the privacy and security of individuals’ personal health information. 

How Does HIPAA Affect Employers?

HIPAA’s provisions apply to certain defined “covered entities,” so it is important for employers to understand when they may have responsibilities under the law.  For employers, these responsibilities are most often associated with a group health plan that they sponsor.    

 

HIPAA specifically does not cover “employers.”  The law does not protect employment records, even if the information in those records is health-related.  Generally, HIPAA also does not apply to the actions of an employer, including the actions of a manager in the workplace.


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