Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Health Care Reform:

Health Insurance & Affordable Care Act

Back to ACA Health Insurance Terms List

HIPAA, also called the privacy rule

HIPAA (pronounced HIP-uh) stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and 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 must comply with HIPAA rules under some certain circumstances. For example, your employer cannot deny you health insurance because of poor health. If it operates onsite medical clinics or pays medical bills out of its own funds, it must follow HIPAA privacy rules, just like health plans and providers. 

However, the Privacy Rule does not protect your employment records, even if the information in those records is health-related. Still, your employer cannot ask your health care provider for information about you without your authorization. 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 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. 

WebMD Definition

Health Insurance Terms

Latest Health Reform News

URAC: Accredited Health Web Site TRUSTe online privacy certification HONcode Seal AdChoices