FAQ: What Does HIPAA Mean?

  • Estate Planning
FAQ what does HIPAA mean | estate and probate legal group

It’s hard to remember a time when we had complete privacy in our lives. Our phones know where we are; stop lights film our cars and drones constantly fly overhead. But the doctor’s office is the one place where our privacy still counts. In 1996, HIPAA was created as a federal law that set national standards to protect sensitive patient health information from being disclosed without the patient’s consent or knowledge.


HIPAA, which stands for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, is set to protect sensitive patient health information from being disclosed without your knowledge or consent. Its goal is to make sure your health information is protected while allowing the flow of information needed to provide you with high-quality healthcare.

Health and Human Services has determined 5 rules to protect all HIPAA information:

  1. Privacy Rule – regulates the use and disclosure of protected health information
  2. Transaction and Code Sets Rule – created to improve health care system efficiency by standardizing health care transactions such as billing
  3. Security Rule –  is limited to Electronic Protected Health Information. It lays out 3 types of security safeguards: administrative, physical and technical
  4. Unique Identifier Rule – entities such as providers completing electronic transactions, healthcare clearinghouses, and large health plans must use only the National Provider Identifier (NPI) in standard transactions
  5. Enforcement Rule – sets civil financial money penalties for violating HIPAA rules

But there are situations in which healthcare professionals can legally breach your confidentiality. Some situations are:

  • gunshot wounds
  • stab wounds
  • injuries sustained in a crime
  • chile or elderly abuse
  • Infectious or contagious diseases

Why is an estate planning attorney talking to you about HIPAA? Because your estate plan should include a healthcare directive. This directive tells your loved ones and healthcare professionals how you want your medical treatment and end-of-life care handled. This includes temporary situations, hospitalizations, transfusions and your mental health.

DuPage County Estate Planning Attorney

Consulting an experienced estate planning attorney in the Chicago area can give you protection and peace of mind. An Illinois estate planning lawyer can help you create an advanced healthcare directive. Contact the Estate & Probate Legal Group at 630-864-5835. 

Areas We Serve: Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake and Will counties