Here is a quote directly from Wikipedia:
“The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 (P.L.104-191) [HIPAA] was enacted by the U.S. Congress in 1996. It was originally sponsored by Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Sen. Nancy Kassebaum (R-Kan.). According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) website, Title I of HIPAA protects health insurance coverage for workers and their families when they change or lose their jobs. Title II of HIPAA, known as the Administrative Simplification (AS) provisions, requires the establishment of national standards for electronic health care transactions and national identifiers for providers, health insurance plans, and employers. The Administration Simplification provisions also address the security and privacy of health data. The standards are meant to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the nation’s health care system by encouraging the widespread use of electronic data interchange in the U.S. health care system.” To read the full Wikipedia article on HIPAA, please click this link.