HRC Blog

HHS Makes Clear that Nondiscrimination Protections under Obamacare Includes Gender Identity

HHS; US Department of Health and Human Services; LGBT protectionsPost submitted by Brian Moulton, Former HRC Legal Director

In response to a letter from LGBT organizations, including HRC, the Department of Health and Human Services confirmed that the non-discrimination provision in the Affordable Care Act prohibits discrimination based on gender identity and sex stereotyping.  This part of the law, referred to as Section 1557, extends the protections of existing federal civil rights laws – which prohibit discrimination based on race, national origin, sex, disability and age – to anyone served under any federally funded or administrated health program or activity, or any entity established under the Act.  Individuals who feel they have been discriminated against in a healthcare program that may fall under this protection can file a complaint with HHS’s Office of Civil Rights here

These protections are sorely needed.  As many as one in five transgender patients report being refused care because of their gender identity.

Successful implementation of these important policies will depend on training healthcare providers as well as spreading the word to the LGBT community as a whole. To learn more about the work HRC is doing through our Healthcare Equality Index to raise awareness of existing protections for LGBT people among hospitals, and to educate hospitals on adopting best practices in providing LGBT patient-centered care, visit

comments powered by Disqus