The Supplemental Guide to Disability for Healthcare Insurance Marketplace Navigators aims to strengthen Navigators’ capacity to assist individuals with disabilities to make informed and appropriate healthcare insurance choices. It expands upon the online course for Navigators entitled, “Working with Consumers with Disabilities,” developed by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). (See US Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Working with Consumers with Disabilities, (Washington DC, August 29, 2013).) The Guide is not intended to be a comprehensive stand-alone resource on all of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act. Rather, it should be used together with resources provided by HHS, other federal agencies including the US Department of Justice (DOJ), and other health policy advocates. (See Resources.)
Building on the content of the HHS guide, the Supplemental Disability Guide provides additional information on the relationship between physical, mental, cognitive and intellectual impairments, and related activity limitations that affect the health insurance benefits individuals likely will require, and ultimately their choice of health insurance coverage. It also provides information that is intended to build awareness among Navigators about the need for physical accessibility of locations where consumers seek assistance to determine their eligibility and select healthcare coverage from the Healthcare Insurance Marketplace. The Guide also presents methods Navigators can use to ensure they are communicating effectively with people with disabilities during in-person meetings and by call centers operated by navigator organizations. Effective communication may require accommodations, policy modifications, and auxiliary aids and services such as providing printed materials in alternative, accessible formats including Braille, large print, or digital for people with vision disabilities, Sign Language interpreters and video recordings for people who are deaf or hard of hearing, and additional meeting and discussion time, and possibly simplified language for people with cognitive or intellectual disabilities.
Fact sheets, presented in a question and answer format, will supplement the guide and will be updated over time with state-by-state experiences. Fact sheet topics will include, for example, the process for Medicaid eligibility, determination of “medically frail” status for Medicaid, information on rehabilitation, habilitation, devices(e.g. durable medical equipment such as wheelchairs), and pharmacy benefits, mental health and substance abuse parity, comparing health plans’ benefits and coverage summaries, and using health plan customer services. (See NDNRC Fact Sheets for a complete list of fact sheet topics.)