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ACA Section 1557 – Nondiscrimination in Health Programs & Activities

Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act builds on existing federal civil rights laws to prohibit covered entities from discriminating against individuals participating in certain health programs or activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability.

Special Update: On December 31, 2016, a nationwide injunction was issued prohibiting enforcement of Section 1557's nondiscrimination rules classifying gender identity and termination of pregnancy as "sex" discrimination. It is unclear at this time what the outcome of the litigation will be. However, all other provisions of Section 1557 and the regulations thereunder are currently effective. Covered entities with questions on how to proceed regarding the administration of benefits are advised to contact a knowledgeable employment law attorney.

This page features information on the following aspects of the law:

  • Effective Dates 
  • Who is Covered  
  • Protections 
  • Notice & Tagline Requirements 
  • Penalties  
  • Additional Resources 

Effective Dates

While section 1557 has been in effect since its enactment in 2010, a final rule implementing section 1557 became effective July 18, 2016. Certain notice requirements addressed in the final rule (discussed below) became effective October 16, 2016.


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