DISB Commissioner Urges Abandonment of Amendment to ACA Section 1557
District of Columbia Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking Commissioner Stephen C. Taylor, together with insurance commissioners from seventeen states, drafted and signed a letter urging the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to abandon its proposed amends to section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Section 1557 is the nondiscriminatory provision of the ACA and prohibits any form of discrimination based on sex, race, color, national origin or disability to individuals enrolled in health programs or activities.
The planned changes affect transgender persons and undermine their rights to receive appropriate health coverage through future insurance policies. The commissioners believe the changes are unfair and might limit transgender access to tests and treatments approved by the medical community. Many of the treatments are directly linked to the wellbeing of those whose gender identity differs from the sex they were assigned at birth.
According to the nondiscrimination in health programs and activities provision of the ACA, no individual should be excluded from participating in a health plan or receiving health benefits from programs approved to operate by the state.
The insurance commissioners believe the proposed revisions put consumers under “considerable uncertainty” and create regulatory instability within a market that is already compliant and regulated. According to the commissioners, the changes go against existing federal court rulings. They further stipulate that the costs for claims and treatment for gender transition individuals are negligible when compared to the ability to offer fair and inclusive health coverage.
Substantial reviews to section 1557, if approved, would place a strain on the state-regulated insurance markets and, more importantly, undermine civil rights protections for millions of consumers.