HIPAA is the law that protects your privacy as a patient. Under the law, health care plans and health care providers must limit who can see your health records. HIPAA also gives you the right to get a copy of your health records from your doctor.
Employers do not have to follow HIPAA rules. Still, they cannot ask your health care provider for information about you. HIPAA does not keep your employer from asking you for certain types of information. For instance, they may ask for a doctor's note for sick leave, workers' compensation, wellness programs, or insurance.
Some other groups also don't have to follow HIPAA rules. They include life insurance companies and law enforcement. Many state agencies, such as those for Social Security or welfare benefits, don't have to follow HIPAA rules either. HIPAA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.