Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act prohibits discrimination based on race, ethnicity, language, age, sex, disability, and immigration status. It was the first law to ban discrimination in health care on the basis of sex. But in the early days of the health law, insurance companies driven by profits found ways to discriminate through drug pricing, hoping to get around the law.
In 2014, the National Health Law Program, along with the AIDS Institute, filed a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) against four Florida Health Plans for violating the ACA’s Sec. 1557 non-discrimination provision by making medications for HIV and AIDS too expensive, blocking low-income people from the life-sustaining medications. In response to the complaint, HHS addressed the discrimination in benefit plan designs by taking the case to state insurance commissioners and issuing a letter indicating it would conduct outlier tests for 2015 plans.