Inclusion cutouts Even with this proposed rule on Section 1557, the debate around what is considered discrimination on the basis of sex is far from over. (Photo: Shutterstock)

On May 24, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a proposed rule (published in the Federal Register on June 14) to substantially revise regulations implementing and enforcing Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a civil rights provision that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability in any health program or activity that receives federal funding. While Section 1557 went into effect on March 23, 2010, much of the rule that applies to private health insurance went into effect in July 2016.

The proposed rule will repeal and replace significant portions of Section 1557, such as the definition of discrimination “on the basis of sex” and make Section 1557 inapplicable to most self-funded and fully insured group health plans.

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