Benefits and Compensation

HHS Finalizes Rule to Improve Health Equity Under the ACA

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has issued a final rule designed to advance health equity and reduce healthcare disparities.

The Nondiscrimination in Health Programs and Activities final rule implements Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which is the first federal civil rights law to broadly prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex in federally funded health programs. Previously, civil rights laws enforced by HHS’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) broadly barred discrimination only on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, or age.

Under the rule, individuals are protected from discrimination in health care on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability and sex, including discrimination based on pregnancy, gender identity, and sex stereotyping.

In addition to implementing Section 1557’s prohibition on sex discrimination, the final rule also enhances language assistance for people with limited English proficiency and helps to ensure effective communication for individuals with disabilities.

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