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The Wagner Law Group

The Wagner Law Group, A Professional Corporation, is a nationally recognized ERISA & employee benefits, estate planning, employment, labor & human resources practice. 


Established in 1996, The Wagner Law Group has 22 attorneys engaged exclusively in employee benefits, estate planning and employment law. Six of our attorneys are AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell as having very high to preeminent legal abilities and ethical standards. The firm is among the largest ERISA boutiques in the country. Our practice is national in scope, with clients in more than 40 states and several foreign countries.





Contact Info

The Wagner Law Group


  Integrity | Excellence



Tel: (617) 357-5200 

Fax: (617) 357-5250 

99 Summer Street 

13th Floor

Boston, MA 02110

Palm Beach Gardens 

Tel: (561) 293-3590
Fax: (561) 293-3591
7108 Fairway Drive
Suite 125
Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33418



Tel: (813) 603-2959

Fax: (813) 603-2961

101 East Kennedy Boulevard

Suite 2140
Tampa, FL  33602 


San Francisco

Tel: (415) 625-0002

Fax: (415) 358-8300

315 Montgomery Street

Suite 904

San Francisco, CA 94104


St. Louis

Tel: (314) 236-0065

Fax: (314) 236-5743
100 South 4th Street, Suite 550
St. Louis, MO  63102 







September 11, 2015


 Health and Welfare Law Alert




 HHS Issues Proposed Regulations Implementing ACA's Nondiscrimination Protections




HHS has issued proposed regulations implementing Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act ("ACA") which prohibits discrimination in health care programs on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. Section 1557 gives HHS' Office for Civil Rights the authority and obligation to enforce the law and investigate potential violations.


Background. Section 1557 of the ACA provides that an individual shall not, on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability, be: 


  • excluded from participation in;
  • denied the benefits of; or
  • subjected to discrimination under


any health program or activity which receives federal financial assistance; any program or activity that is administered by an agency of the federal government; or, any entity established under Title I of the ACA. Section 1557 has been in effect since 2010 when the ACA became effective, and there have already been court decisions and enforcement actions based on this provision.




Proposed Regulations. The proposed regulations apply to virtually all forms of discrimination covered by federal law and do not limit other rights or remedies available under any other federal, state, or local antidiscrimination law.




The proposed regulations prohibit discrimination based on gender identity, which the proposal says is a form of sex discrimination. The proposed regulations also clarify that sex discrimination includes discrimination based on: pregnancy; false pregnancy; termination of, or recovery from, pregnancy; childbirth; and sexual stereotyping.




Section 1557, however, is not clear on whether the prohibition against sex discrimination includes discrimination based on sexual orientation. While HHS has made it clear that it supports a ban on discrimination based on of sexual orientation, it has asked for comments on whether the regulations should prohibit such discrimination.




Scope of Regulations. The proposed regulations have a broad scope and apply to a wide range of health programs and entities. Specifically, the regulations protect individuals from discrimination in: 


  • any health program or activity this is a recipient of federal financial assistance, including hospitals, clinics, employers, or insurance companies that receive federal money;
  • any health program or activity administered by an executive agency, including federal health programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP; and 
  • any program or activity created under Title I of the ACA, including the state-level health insurance exchanges.


The proposed regulations are accessible at: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2015-09-08/pdf/2015-22043.pdf








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This Newsletter is provided for information purposes by The Wagner Law Group to clients and others who may be interested in the subject matter, and may not be relied upon as specific legal advice.  This material is not to be construed as legal advice or legal opinions on specific facts. Under the Rules of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, this material may be considered advertising.