On Friday, ANCOR submitted comments to rule changes proposed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Section 1557 says that it is illegal to discriminate in the provision of health care on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability or sex. HHS has proposed multiple changes to Section 1557 regulations, including the disability specific nondiscrimination regulations. The public has until Tuesday, August 13 by 11:59 pm to submit comments – you can submit comments here. Feel free to use ANCOR’s comments as a template, posted here. The disability community is concerned because the proposed changes may:
- Exempt many insurance companies and many health plans from nondiscrimination requirements;
- Delete a provision that prohibits insurance plans from discriminating on the basis of disability when deciding what benefits to cover and extra coverage costs;
- Eliminate the requirement for hospitals, doctors, insurers, and other health care providers to tell people about their rights, including the right to auxiliary aids and services at no cost, how to ask for such aids/services, and how to make a complaint if they encounter discrimination;
- Potentially limit the types of auxiliary aids and services available;
- Make it harder for individuals who are being discriminated against because of a relationship or association with someone with a disability to enforce their rights; and
- Make it more confusing to prove discrimination and go to court.