Transitioning to Coverage: Three Things to Know About the New Transgender Healthcare Regulations

On May 18, 2016, the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) issued final regulations implementing the nondiscrimination provisions of the Affordable Care Act. As we discussed in our March 30, 2016 blog, the rule prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex and gender identity in the provision of health programs.  In application, the final regulations prohibit the categorical refusal of coverage to transgender participants and require that individuals be treated consistent with their self-selected gender identity.

  1. When are the final regulations effective?

The final rule generally is effective July 18, 2016. However, group health plans and health insurance need not be modified to comply with the new nondiscrimination rules until the first day of the first plan year (in the individual market, policy year) beginning on or after January 1, 2017. Read More ›

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EEOC Ruling on Sexual Orientation Impacts Same-Sex Spouse and Domestic Partner Benefits

In our July 2, 2015 blog, Obergefell v. Hodges – Same-Sex Marriage Now Legal in All 50 States, we indicated that employers may need to offer same-sex spouse health and welfare benefits and rethink domestic partner benefits in order to avoid discrimination claims.  Shortly after posting that blog, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (the “EEOC”) ruled that an allegation of sexual orientation discrimination inherently constitutes sex-based discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.  See Complainant v. Foxx, EEOC Agency No. 2012-24738-FAA-03 (July 16, 2015).  While the EEOC’s ruling is not binding on private employers, employers should be aware that courts may give weight to the EEOC’s viewpoint. Read More ›

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