Insurers Can’t Discriminate Based on Gender Identity

Insurers and hospitals can’t discriminate against patients because of their gender identity under the Affordable Care Act, federal officials said Friday, but patient groups complained the rule doesn’t go far enough. (USA Today)

The health care rules stem from anti-discrimination provisions in the Affordable Care Act, designed to prevent unfair treatment based on sex, gender identity and sexual orientation. They are the latest step President Barack Obama has taken to extend civil rights protections for transgender people.(The Huffington Post)

“A central goal of the Affordable Care Act is to help all Americans access quality, affordable health care,” HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell said in a statement. “Today’s announcement is a key step toward realizing equity within our health care system and reaffirms this Administration’s commitment to giving every American access to the health care they deserve.” (Morning Consult)

Religious hospitals are likely to take issue with the final rule. Their arguments would be similar to those made in several lawsuits brought by religious organizations that say compliance with rules and laws related to providing birth control or paying for abortion through health plans go against their religious freedom. (Modern Healthcare)