HHS Rule Takes Aim at Bias in Health Care Algorithms

While a recently proposed rule from HHS would mostly reinstate nondiscrimination protections that the Trump administration unwound, it also addresses an emerging issue that is likely to stir up controversy in the health insurance industry: bias in clinical algorithms.

The regulation, posted Aug. 4 in the Federal Register, would for the first time at the federal level prohibit a covered entity “from discriminating against any individual on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability through the use of clinical algorithms in decision-making,” explains a July 27 Health Affairs article summarizing the proposal. “Covered entities” include all health programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance, including health insurance issuers that get federal funding.

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Leslie Small

Leslie Small

Leslie has been working in journalism since 2009 and reporting on the health care industry since 2014. She has covered the many ups and downs of the Affordable Care Act exchanges, the failed health insurer mega-mergers, and hundreds of other storylines spanning subjects such as Medicaid managed care, Medicare Advantage, employer-sponsored insurance, and prescription drug coverage. As the managing editor of Health Plan Weekly and Radar on Drug Benefits, she writes and edits for both publications while overseeing a small team of reporters who also focus on the managed care sector. Before joining AIS Health, she was a senior editor for the e-newsletter Fierce Health Payer, and she started her career as a copy editor at multiple local newspapers. She graduated with a dual degree in journalism and political science from Penn State University.

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