August 19, 2016
By: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Department of Labor and Department of TreasuryTwenty years ago, the summer games of the XXVI Olympiad had just ended in Atlanta. We were dancing to the “Macarena,” the number one song on the radio. The first cellular phones were just hitting the market. And on August 21, 1996, our nation committed to transforming health care coverage with the enactment of historic, bipartisan legislation called the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, or HIPAA for short.
Many are familiar with HIPAA as a medical privacy and security law. But it is that and so much more. A key component of HIPAA’s initial purpose was to allow people to transfer and continue health insurance after they change or lose a job. This was first made possible in 1985 by passage of health insurance continuation provisions in the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). HIPAA then built upon these gains, and most recently, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) amended and expanded many of the original HIPAA consumer protections.
READ MORE: HIPAA at 20: A Bipartisan Achievement