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The Wagner Law Group Description 

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 19 attorneys engaged exclusively in employee benefits, estate planning and employment law. Five 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


Massachusetts Office 

Tel: (617) 357-5200 

Fax: (617) 357-5250 

99 Summer Street 

13th Floor

Boston, MA 02110

Florida Office 

Tel: (561) 293-3590
Fax: (561) 293-3591
7121 Fairway Drive
Suite 203
Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33418


New York Office

Tel: (716) 650-5987

Fax: (716) 633-0301

333 International Drive

Suite B-4

Williamsville, NY 14221


San Francisco Office

Tel: (415) 625-0002

Fax: (415) 829-4385

315 Montgomery Street

Suite 902

San Francisco, CA 94104







August 23, 2012 

 State and Federal Law Alert




HHS Issues Guidance on PPACA's Nondiscrimination Rules for Health Programs and Activities




The Department of Health and Human Services ("HHS") has issued seven questions and answers ("Q&As") that address the nondiscrimination rules under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act ("PPACA") that apply to health programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance.


Section 1557 of PPACA prohibits discrimination the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability under any health program or activity that receives federal financial assistance, including credits, subsidies, or insurance contracts.


In particular, the HHS Q&As provide the following clarification on Section 1557 of PPACA: 

  • Because Section 1557 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, it necessarily protects against discrimination based on gender identity and stereotyping.
  • Transition-related surgery is not required to be covered by health insurers.
  • HHS's Office for Civil Rights ("OCR") has enforcement authority for health programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance from HHS.
  • If individuals believe they were denied health care or treated differently because of illegal discrimination, they may file a complaint with OCR.
  • There will be no regulation promulgated under Section 1557 defining what is masculine or feminine. 

Individuals who believe their rights have been violated can learn how to file a complaint with OCR at: http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/civilrights/complaints/index.html.


Since PPACA's enactment in 2010, the Section 1557 nondiscrimination rules have received virtually no attention. However, several significant questions remain unanswered, including which health programs or activities are subject to the rules. HHS will likely address these issues in the near future by issuing regulations implementing Section 1557.




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Pursuant to Internal Revenue Service Circular 230, we hereby inform you that any advice set forth herein with respect to US federal tax issues is not intended or written by The Wagner Law Group to be used and cannot be used, by you or any taxpayer, for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed on you or any other person under the Internal Revenue Code.


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.