The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), Public Law 104-191, was enacted on August 21, 1996. Sections 261 through 264 of HIPAA require the Secretary of HHS to publicize standards for the electronic exchange, privacy, and security of health information. Collectively these are known as the Administrative Simplification provisions.
HIPAA required the Secretary to issue privacy regulations governing individually identifiable health information if Congress did not enact privacy legislation within three years of the passage of HIPAA. Because Congress did not enact privacy legislation, HHS developed a proposed rule and released it for public comment on November 3, 1999. The Department received over 52,000 public comments. The final regulation, the Privacy Rule, was published on December 28, 2000.
In March 2002, the Department proposed and released for public comment modifications to the Privacy Rule. The Department received over 11,000 comments. The final modifications were published in final form on August 14, 2002.