Top 5 Reasons the Affordable Care Act Will Help People with Disabilities

Obama Care and EldersSource from The Arc

The Affordable Care Act marked one of the most significant laws for people with disabilities since the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990. This year, implementation is moving into high gear and we want to highlight the top reasons this landmark legislation will help individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

1. Eliminates pre-existing condition exclusions: Health insurance companies are not allowed to deny enrollment or specific benefits based on pre-existing conditions.

2. Medical underwriting no longer allowed: Beginning in 2014, health insurance companies will only be able to base premium amounts on age, smoking, size of family and geographic location. Insurers will no longer be able to take into account health premiums. Premiums are the amount people pay to purchase insurance.

3. Provides affordability provisions: Tax credits and cost-sharing reductions will make private health insurance more affordable for low and moderate income individuals, and families can earn up to 400% of poverty, $45,960 for an individual, and $94, 200 for a family of four in 2013.

4. Health plans sold in the marketplace must cover key services: The law requires that plans sold to individuals, small employers and Medicaid Alternative Benefit Plans must cover 10 categories of services. Key categories include rehabilitative and habitabilive services and devised, mental health and substance abuse disorder services including behavioral health treatment, preventative and wellness services, chronic disease management and other important health care services.

5. Allows states to expand Medicaid coverage: States can now expand Medicaid coverage to adults with incomes up to 133% of the federal poverty levels and receive a generous federal match-100% for the first 3 years and gradually declining to a 90% in 2020.

In October 2013, enrollment began in the new private health insurance marketplaces and coverage began January 1, 2014, for people who enrolled in time. Open enrollment will continue until March 31, 2014. To learn more about this program, visit: or call the ACA helpline 1-800-318-2596, open 24/7.