Supreme Court Upheld Affordable Care Act (ACA) Provision

The U. S. Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act (ACA) again in deciding King v. Burwell. The justices, in a 6-3 ruling, said that Congress intended for federal subsidies to be available in every state, regardless of whether the state created its own marketplace.   The Arc applauded the decision as a major victory for people with disabilities and others who need access to affordable health care.

The ACA is important to people with disabilities. It expanded coverage and reformed insurance to end discrimination against people with disabilities and enhance access to health care. The private health insurance marketplaces allow individuals or small businesses to shop for coverage and potentially receive subsidies to help offset the cost of insurance. The subsidies are key to ensuring affordable coverage. The health insurance reforms, the protections from high premium increases or out-of-pocket costs, and the coverage of “essential health benefits”, including mental health care and rehabilitative/habilitative services and devices, help assure that people with disabilities have affordable health care that meets their needs. To read The Arc’s statement visit our blog.

Affordable Care Act Open Enrollment For Health Insurance Marketplaces Ends

Open enrollment for health insurance offered through the marketplaces ended February 15, 2015.  Extra time is allowed for people who started the enrollment process but did not finish.  There are also special enrollment periods for people who lose their health coverage or experience another qualifying change in their situation.  The administration is reporting that 11.4 million people signed up or were re-enrolled for health insurance during the open enrollment period.   For more information about health insurance visit: https://www.healthcare.gov.

Affordable Care Act Open Enrollment Begins This Week

Now is the time for individuals who are uninsured or looking for affordable health insurance to investigate the private health insurance plans available through state marketplaces (to find your state information visit the health care website.   During “open enrollment”, a person can purchase private health insurance through the marketplace in each state. There may also be financial assistance to help with health care costs available for low and moderate income. It is also important for people who currently have insurance through the marketplace, to look at the plan and determine if it will continue to meet the needs of the person, or select a better plan. Individuals who do not take action will be automatically re-enrolled in the current plan. Re-enrollment is also an important opportunity for people to report any changes in income.

2015 Open Enrollment

November 15, 2014 – Open enrollment begins

December 15, 2014 – Enroll before this date to have coverage January 1, 2015

February 15, 2015 – Open enrollment ends

For more information and where to get help, read more on The Arc’s blog.

Over 8 Million Americans Enrolled in Private Health Insurance Through the Marketplaces

The Obama Administration estimates that over 8 million Americans have enrolled in private health insurance through the marketplaces, surpassing the target goal of 7 million. Information is not yet available on whether or not these individuals were previously uninsured or whether they had paid their first premiums. The Arc recently joined other advocacy organizations in requesting that HHS make available other demographic information, such as disability status, when releasing future enrollment information.

Affordable Care Act Open Enrollment Period Closing Today

March 31st marks the closing of the open enrollment period for private health insurance provided through the marketplaces.  The Department of Health and Human Services has estimated that over 6 million people have signed up for health insurance coverage.  Some people may qualify for a special extended enrollment period if they have had problems signing up for insurance coverage before the deadline.  If you think you qualify but haven’t been notified, you can ask for a special enrollment period by calling the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596 and letting them know your circumstances.  The call center will ask a series of questions to see if you qualify.  Make sure you have evidence that you’ve tried to enroll but were not successful.

New Affordable Care Act Resource Available

The National Disability Navigator Resource Collaborative has released the first of several fact sheets entitled “Comparing Health Plans’ Benefits and Coverage Summaries.”  This fact sheet is intended to inform navigators and other enrollment specialists about what people with disabilities need to look for in the Summary of Benefits and Coverage.  The entire list of upcoming fact sheets is also available at their website.  This information complements the earlier publication by the collaborative, “Guide to Disability for Healthcare Insurance Marketplace Navigators”, designed to inform navigators and other enrollment specialists about special considerations people with disabilities may face as they shop for healthcare coverage.  The Collaboration is a project of the American Association on Health and Disability and is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.  The Arc is one of the seven national organizations participating in the collaboration.  The Arc encourages chapters and members to share the availability of the guide and other resources with Affordable Care Act navigators in their community.

New Affordable Care Act Resource Released

The National Disability Navigator Resource Collaborative has released a “Guide to Disability for Healthcare Insurance Marketplace Navigators” designed to inform navigators and other enrollment specialists about special considerations people with disabilities may face as they shop for healthcare coverage.  The Collaboration is a project of the American Association on Health and Disability and is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.  The Arc is one of the seven national organizations participating in the collaboration.  The Arc encourages chapters and members to share the availability of the guide and other resources with Affordable Care Act navigators in their community.

New Health Care Extensions

The Administration continues to look for ways to help people transition to the new health insurance plans available in the marketplace given the operational problems of the enrollment website (www.healthcare.gov).  The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that it is extending the federally run pre-existing condition insurance plans which were established as a temporary measure for people who could not get insurance.  The plans are being extended until January 31, 2014 for people who do not have other coverage.   The Administration also extended to December 31, 2013 the deadline for paying premiums for coverage beginning January 1, 2014.  HHS is also urging insurance companies to consider additional flexibility such as allowing retroactive coverage in cases where insurance is purchased early in the month.