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HHS Releases Proposed Rule on Nondiscrimination in Health Programs and Activities

September 11, 2015—The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Sept. 8 released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to advance health equity and minimize disparities in health care.

HHS states that the proposed rule extends all civil rights obligations to Health Insurance Marketplaces and all HHS health programs, and establishes that the prohibition on sex discrimination includes discrimination based on gender identity. The NPRM also includes new requirements for communicating effectively with persons with disabilities.

Other issues addressed in the rule are:

  • Affirming that women must be treated equally with men in the health care they receive;
  • Prohibiting categorical exclusion by insurers of care related to gender transition;

  • Bolstering language assistance for people with limited English proficiency; and

  • Requiring auxiliary aids and services, as well as accessibility of programs offered though information technology for persons with disabilities.

The proposed rule was published in the Sept. 8 Federal Register and the comments must be submitted by Nov. 9.


Philip M. Alberti, PhD
Senior Director, Health Equity Research and Policy
Telephone: 202-828-0522


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