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Another win: Federal Government bans anti-trans discrimination in health care and insurance coverage

Harrisburg —Earlier this month, Pennsylvania became the 17th state to ban discrimination against gender identity in health insurance practices. Today, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) took an important step forward by issuing Affordable Care Act regulations banning antitrans discrimination in health care and insurance coverage. By issuing the Section 1557 of the ACA final rule, HHS is advancing health equity and reducing healthcare disparities for a number of minority communities. 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.”

Ted Martin, Executive Director of Equality PA, explained the ruling saying, “With the implementation of this regulation, HHS is opening the door for sweeping protections and coverage for over a million people.” Martin added, “Transgender people often encounter discriminatory insurance plan exclusions that deny them coverage for medically necessary care related to gender transition, even though the same services and procedures are routinely covered for nontransgender individuals. This regulation will help to ensure that transgender people are treated fairly by health insurers.”

The rule also confirms that individuals must have access to facilities and programs consistent with their gender identity. The rule will protect lesbian, gay, and bisexual people on the basis of sex stereotypes. And, the rule makes clear that OCR will evaluate complaints and monitor cases. HHS “supports prohibiting sexual orientation discrimination as a matter of policy and will continue to
monitor legal developments on this issue.”

Ted Martin praised the policy saying, “Today, we celebrate the tremendous momentum sweeping the country and thank HHS for hearing us. The increase of legal protections and access to critical programs is a win for LGBT communities across the country.”

The rule will become fully operational on July 18, 2016.

For more information about Section 1557, including factsheets on key provisions and frequently asked questions, visit www.hhs.gov/civilrights/forindividuals/section1557

To learn more about nondiscrimination and health information privacy laws, your civil rights, and privacy rights in health care and human service settings, and to find information on how to file a complaint, visit us at www.hhs.gov/ocr.

 

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