Proposed Rule on Nondiscrimination in Health Programs and Activities (November 9, 2015)
The Church Alliance submitted comment in response to a proposed rule issued by the Department of Health and Human Services that addresses Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Section 1557 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability in certain health programs and activities. The Church Alliance letter requests that church self-insured health care plans be exempted from the proposed rule because the plans and plan sponsors generally do not receive Federal financial assistance. The Church Alliance also requests clarification that a retiree-only church health care plan is not a “health program or activity” under the proposed rule. In addition, the Church Alliance requests that the proposed rule include a religious conscience exemption that will protect the rights of religious organizations that object to providing coverage for certain health or medical services otherwise required under Section 1557.