On October 20, 2008, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), together with the Treasury and Labor Departments, published a final rule imposing requirements on group health plans and health insurance issuers concerning hospital lengths of stay for mothers and newborns following childbirth. The rule, which finalizes interim final rules published October 27, 1998 under the Newborns’ and Mothers’ Health Protection Act of 1996 and the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997, generally prohibits group health plans and group health insurance issuers from limiting hospital lengths of stay in connection with childbirth to less than 48 hours for vaginal deliveries and 96 hours for cesarean sections, and provides other related protections. The rule is effective December 19, 2008, and applies to individual and group health plans and group health insurance issuers for plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2009.