Expanded Anti-Discrimination Law for US Healthcare Industry

Published Date : Sep 03, 2015

The United States government proposed on Thursday the idea of a nondiscrimination law for the health care system in the country that clearly demands that medical providers as well as insurers to treat all patients without any bias, including transgender people. 

Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act, which was passed in 2010, comprises nondiscrimination provisions that deter insurers from denying insurance coverage based on sex or age or charge customers extra. 

However, the law left a few avenues open to interpretation because of which, consumers are being discriminated against, according to the United States Department of Health and Human Services. 

The rule indicates that individuals cannot be denied coverage or care on the basis of gender identity or sex, and that all individuals must be treated equally, keeping in mind their gender identity. Health care providers cannot limit or deny care on the basis of gender and insurers cannot have clear policies that prohibit gender transition services, which may be otherwise offered such as a hysterectomy.

The rule also gives added protection to lend communication help to those individuals with disabilities or with limited English speaking or understanding capabilities. 

The rule applies to all providers who have participated in Medicaid or Medicare, as well as to insurers who provide services under these two services or other government paid plans such as services of health insurance exchange developed by Obamacare. 

Director of the Office for Civil Rights at the United States Department of Health and Human Services Jocelyn Samuels said via a conference call that the agency in recent years has addressed thousands of grievances ranging from inadequate language services to a hospital or clinic refusing appropriate facilities to a transgender individual. 

Samuels said that the institute has sufficient evidence that there is an ongoing problem regarding discrimination in the US healthcare sector.