June 8, 2016

Section 1557 Nondiscrimination in Health Programs and Activities Final Rule

As announced earlier this month, the Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) within the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) released the Nondiscrimination in Health Programs and Activities Final Rule (“Final Rule”). This Final Rule implements Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act.

The Final Rule prohibits discrimination in the administration of health insurance based on race, color, national origin, age, gender or disability. In addition to this general prohibition, the Final Rule outlines specific underwriting practices, plan designs and marketing activities that are prohibited forms of discrimination. It also establishes a number of accessibility standards for individuals with limited English proficiency and individuals with disabilities.

The Final Rule generally applies to health programs that receive federal financial assistance, which specifically includes health plans that participate in Medicare, Medicaid or offer Qualified Health Plans through the Marketplaces. If an entity is subject to the Final Rule, the requirements apply broadly to its operations.

We understand that groups may have questions about how the Final Rule will impact them. We are currently reviewing the applicability and requirements of the final rule and will provide more information as it becomes available.

This communication is intended for informational purposes only. It is not intended to provide, does not constitute, and cannot be relied upon as legal, tax or compliance advice. The information contained in this communication is subject to change based on future regulation and guidance.