The Impact of the HIPAA Privacy Rule on Collegiate Sport Professionals (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) by The Sport Journal

The Impact of the HIPAA Privacy Rule on Collegiate Sport Professionals (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act)

By The Sport Journal

  • Release Date: 2008-03-22
  • Category: Reference

Brief Description

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was enacted on August 21, 1996, by the 104th U.S. Congress as Public Law 104-191 (29 U.S.C. [section]18). The act amended both the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, or ERISA [29 U.S.C.[section]1182(a)(1)], and the Public Health Service Act [42 U.S.C.[section] 6(a)]. Its main purpose was to improve both the portability and continuity of health insurance coverage for workers and their families, especially as individuals changed employers. Title II of the act was intended to reduce paperwork--making it easier to detect and prosecute fraud and abuse--and to streamline industry inefficiencies (Office of Civil Rights, 2003). However, one specific clause in title II part C, titled "Administrative Simplification," has had implications beyond the original intent of the act. This clause is referred to as the Privacy Rule; it was effective on October 15, 2002, and is responsible for much confusion and widespread controversy (Kuczynski & Gibbs-Whalberg, 2005), especially in collegiate sport settings. "Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information" is the Privacy Rule (45 CFR parts 160 and 164). The Privacy Rule implements the privacy requirements of the Administrative Simplification subtitle of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. The Privacy Rule was added to the legislation at the request of the insurance industry. It was intended to be a confidentiality provision--controlling the use and disclosure of health information--by establishing for the first time a set of national standards for the protection of personal health information. Before the enactment of this act, an individual's health information was readily available and able to be shared among insurance companies. The resulting effect of this ethically questionable, yet legal, sharing of health information was across-the-board rejections of many persons who requested, and often needed, health insurance.

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