ACA Rule Strengthens Nondiscrimination Protections for Consumers

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently issued a final rule under Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act to strengthen nondiscrimination protections and advance civil rights in health care. This rule offers protections against discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, age, and disability. This rule also reduces language access barriers, expands physical and digital accessibility, tackles bias in health technology, and much more.

Among other provisions, the 1557 final rule:

  • Holds HHS health programs and activities to the same nondiscrimination standards as recipients of Federal financial assistance.
  • Requires covered health care providers, insurers, grantees, and others to let people know that language assistance and accessibility services are available to patients at no cost.
  • Clarifies that covered health programs and activities offered via telehealth must also be accessible to individuals with limited English proficiency and individuals with disabilities.
  • Protects patients from discriminatory health insurance benefit designs made by insurers.
  • Clarifies that nondiscrimination in health programs and activities continues to apply to the use of AI, clinical algorithms, predictive analytics, and other tools.

For more information about this new rule and how it may affect consumers, visit the resources below: