The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued the Nondiscrimination in Health Programs and Activities final rule May 13 to advance health equity under the Affordable Care Act. The final rule prohibits sex discrimination in health care by requiring that women must be treated equally with men in the health care and insurance they receive, and prohibits denial of health care or health coverage based on an individual’s sex, including discrimination based on pregnancy, gender identity and sex stereotyping.
The rule also enhances language assistance for people with limited English proficiency and helps to ensure effective communication for individuals with disabilities.
The rule 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 broadly barred discrimination based only on race, color, national origin, disability and age.