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Nondiscrimination Proposed Rule for Health Care Programs

September 17, 2015

by Laura Piontkowski

The Department of Health and Human Services recently released new rules that protect transgender individuals by federal law for health insurance. Under these new rules, health insurers and medical providers cannot deny coverage or services related to gender transition. This stems from the original provision of the Affordable Care Act that bans discrimination for any health program or activity that receives federal funds, and in this new regulation, it explicitly says that discrimination on the basis of gender identity is a form of sex discrimination. Health care providers and insurers that violate this rule could risk losing their federal funding and could face individual lawsuits from the patients who faced such discrimination. This provision applies to all plans sold through the Health Insurance Marketplace, expanded Medicaid, CHIP, or any other health insurer or provider receiving federal funds. This is a huge achievement for everyone fighting for nondiscrimination in health care, especially LGBT communities. The new proposal also provides inclusions for those with disabilities and limited English proficiency. The Department of Health and Human Services now has opened up this proposal for public comment. For more information, check out