The recent Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act means there could be some positive changes for people with disabilities regarding access to healthcare. Historically, people with disabilities have been at a disadvantage in accessing health insurance due to restrictions on pre-existing conditions, benefit limits and exclusions, and the risk of losing coverage on short notice. The Affordable Care Act addresses many of these concerns while advancing equality for people with disabilities. Some important changes are:

  • The new law benefits people with disabilities by banning insurance companies from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions. This practice made it very difficult for people with disabilities to afford health insurance.
  • In addition, insurance plans can no longer deny coverage to any child under age 19 based on a pre-existing condition, including a disability. This protection will expand to cover all people with disabilities by 2014.
  • The new law provides increased funding for states to provide home and community based services, which are not only more cost effective but also make it easier for people with disabilities to live independently, instead of institutions like nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
  • Insurance companies can no longer impose lifetime dollar limits on your coverage.
  • Starting in 2014, insurance plans won’t be able to charge a higher premium for a pre-existing condition including a disability.
  • The law enhances health care delivery by establishing standards for medical diagnostic equipment so people with

Many of the provisions of the law will not go into effect until 2014. The recent enactment of the law means the reforms are just beginning but over time should allow for a health care system much better suited to the needs of people with disabilities.

The National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) is an advocate for mobility and accessibility for drivers with disabilities. If you need help with converting or buying a handicap accessible car, truck or van, please consider one of our mobility equipment dealers.

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