This week is Disability Week of Action for Open Enrollment Year 9 (OE9). This morning, we posted a blog introducing you to the week as an opportunity to highlight enrollment for people with disabilities, and we want to look at what coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) means for people with disabilities.
Did you know that before the full implementation of the ACA in 2014, people with disabilities had difficulty purchasing healthcare insurance in the individual commercial market because insurers would not provide coverage for people with pre-existing conditions or because policies could be prohibitively expensive? Under the ACA, everyone has the right to buy health insurance under what is known as the “guaranteed issue” provisions of the law. These provisions require three things:
- Insurers are prohibited from denying coverage due to disability or pre-existing conditions.
- No one can lose their insurance or be denied the right to renew their insurance simply because they become sick or develop a disability.
- Insurance companies are prohibited from setting premiums based on your health conditions, so people with disabilities cannot be charged more simply because of their disability.
As a result, the ACA marketplace offers an excellent opportunity for people with all disabilities who either had gone without coverage or had limited access to needed healthcare benefits to obtain health insurance in the individual market. Additionally, every health insurance plan is required to cover 10 Essential Health Benefits (EHBs). These EHBs include access to prescription medications, mental health treatment, durable medical equipment or other medical devices, or rehabilitation and/or habilitation benefits, among others.
These are just a few of the benefits which the ACA brought about for people with disabilities. The ACA also brought about reforms in the Medicaid program which benefit people with disabilities as well as other health insurance reforms. To read more about some of the important provisions in the ACA for people with disabilities, check out the statement we wrote in 2017 entitled “Preserve the Protections Provided by the Affordable Care Act”.
With the passage of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) earlier this year, coverage through the ACA marketplace has never been more affordable. ARPA enhanced the subsidies available to help consumers pay for premiums for coverage through the ACA marketplace. In fact, 80% of those who go to healthcare.gov can find coverage for less than $10 per month.
Please continue to follow us as we progress through Disability Week of Action. Tomorrow we will be hosting our Twitter chat entitled “Coverage Is Inclusive” at 3 PM ET. You can follow along on the AAHD Twitter account or with the #OE9DisabilityChat.