Since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), there has been a great deal of attention given to the bill by the media. While members of the Republican Party grapple with the pros and cons of the bill and how to repeal it, I was concerned how the bill will benefit millions of uninsured Americans and other members of vulnerable populations such as the disabled. It turns out that the disabled will benefit greatly in terms of health coverage, since people with pre-existing conditions cannot be precluded from health care coverage under the ACA. There are 86,000 Americans with pre-existing conditions who have gained coverage since the passing of the bill. People with disabilities were always excluded from having private insurance mainly because of pre-existing conditions, which caused members of this population to rely on Medicaid or have to forgo medical insurance altogether.

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Many disabled persons will opt for coverage under the ACA rather than Medicaid because:

  1.       The premiums are more affordable.
  2.       They will obtain significantly better health care.
  3.       They do not have to repay at death, as is with the case with Medicaid.

In the past most people with disabilities are often placed in an institution such as a hospital, a nursing home or a group home. Under the Affordable Care Act’s Balancing Incentive Program approximately 3 billion dollars in federal grants will be given to various states in order to keep disabled citizens in their respective communities so that they can lead meaningful lives. There is also the First Choice Option which allows individuals with disabilities to transition from an institution to a home or community based service.

People with Autism will benefit immensely from the ACA. The law contains important provisions for people with Autism and other conditions like cerebral palsy. These individuals and their families will have a wider range of access to affordable insurance options because of the new Insurance Exchanges and improvements in the Medicaid system. Individuals who are suffering with behavioral health or mental health and substance abuse issues are also covered under the autism provision of the new law.  However, some states have their own autism insurance reform laws and up to 21 states may not cover behavioral health treatment.

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There are 3.8 million disabled veterans living in the United States of America. Have you ever wondered how the ACA benefits our disabled veterans?  Well, if veterans are enrolled with the Veterans Affairs department they do not actually need the ACA. In fact the new law does not change health care coverage for veterans nor does it change their out of pocket expenses.

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Approximately 56.7 million disabled citizens currently residing in America (i.e 18.67% of the population). As Americans, we all should be happy that our disabled citizens can now gain access to affordable health care.

Thanks for reading, signing off Roz.

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