We have been hearing a lot about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) lately. You may have heard about it are through your health insurance, or employer or you might have been educated on ACA at your local library or even heard about it on the news.
But did you know that the ACA could be affecting those living with disabilities? You are probably wondering if this is a good thing. The Affordable Care Act has language within it, that if enacted and operationalized as written, could benefit Americans living with disabilities in many different ways, including options to make sure coverage will meet all of your needs. Here are 5 ways the ACA could benefit you:
- New coverage options and ending discrimination for those with pre-existing conditions. Before those with a pre-existing condition, such as a disability, could be denied medical coverage. Now with the Affordable Care Act, every state has created the Pre-Existing Insurance Plan, which allows those with pre-existing conditions to get health insurance. No one with pre-existing conditions such as a disability will be denied health insurance.
- No limits on health benefits. This law puts a ban on any lifetime dollar limits on health benefits. Those with disabilities will no longer have to worry about going without treatment and care because of lifetime limits.
- Less costs, more coverage. State Medicaid Programs will be offering more services to those who need long-term care at home and in the community.
- More long-term options. Aging and Disability Resource Centers have expanded into more communities throughout the country. There are also more long-term care counseling programs available to help you better understand what services are available to help you.
- Helps people stay at home. The ACA has created the Balancing Incentive Program, which provides $3 million in Federal Medicaid grant funding to help keep people out of institutions and help them live their lives in the community. The ACA has also extended the Money Follows the Person Program to transition those living in institutions back to the community. ACA also offers the First Choice Option to states to offer home and community-based services to people with disabilities through Medicaid rather than nursing homes.
Again, the law has language within it that could benefit people living with disabilities — but only if it’s enacted and operationalized as written. That being said, be sure to get help when enrolling to assure you understand any level of subsidy you might be entitled to. Also, be VERY sure to focus on your personal deductible and co-pay responsibilities under whatever plan you may qualify for or choose.
Have more questions? Here are some additional resources to read about the ACA and Disabilities:
- The Affordable Healthcare Act Helps Americans With Disabilities
- Health Reform and People with Disabilities
- Affordable Care Act for Americans with Disabilities
- Office on Disability-Disability Topics