Non-compliance with the HIPAA law may result in civil penalties ranging from $100 to $50,000 per violation, with a maximum annual penalty of $1.5 million, and in severe cases, criminal penalties leading to fines up to $250,000 and imprisonment for up to 10 years, depending on the level of negligence and the nature of the violation. HIPAA safeguards patients’ PHI and ensures its confidentiality, integrity, and availability. The law applies to covered entities, which include healthcare providers, health plans, and healthcare clearinghouses, as well as their business associates who handle PHI on their behalf. The penalties for non-compliance with HIPAA can be significant, varying depending on the severity and extent of the violation.
Civil penalties are classified into four tiers, and the Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) determines the specific penalty amount based on the nature of the breach. The lowest penalty tier applies when the covered entity or business associate is unaware of the violation and would not have been able to reasonably know about it. In such cases, penalties can range from $100 to $50,000 per violation, with an annual maximum of $1.5 million. If the violation resulted from reasonable cause but not due to willful neglect, the penalties are higher, ranging from $1,000 to $50,000 per violation, with an annual maximum of $1.5 million.