On September 8, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued for public comment proposed regulations to promote equal access to health care and coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The proposed rule bans discrimination on the basis of disability, race, color, national origin, sex, including gender identity, age, or English proficiency. It applies to the insurance plans of the Health Insurance Marketplaces established under the ACA and to health programs and activities conducted or funded by HHS.
The rules require covered entities to provide effective communication to people with disabilities through auxiliary aids and services, including alternative formats and sign language interpretation. In addition, they must make reasonable modifications to policies, practices, or procedures to achieve equal access. The regulations also cover access to information technology, including websites, and to facilities, which must meet standards issued under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Architectural Barriers Act in new construction and alterations.
*Source: U.S. Access Board, “Access Currents,” September/October 2015.