The National Disability Navigator Resource Collaborative (NDRC) has issued updated information for people with disabilities who are interested in purchasing health insurance through statewide insurance marketplaces. These marketplaces, established by the Affordable Care Act of 2010 and launched in October 2013, offer consumers an opportunity to purchase individual health insurance and apply for coverage through Medicaid. Although open enrollment has closed for 2014, individuals may still apply for insurance this year if they have experienced a qualifying life event that affects their eligibility for insurance, such as loss of previous insurance, change in employment, marriage, or birth of a child. NDRC is a collaborative effort among disability and health care organizations to improve disability awareness and competence among professional health insurance navigators and other health insurance enrollment specialists.
The fact sheets published by NDRC include information on a) disability anti-discrimination laws that protect health insurance consumers; and b) use of the health insurance exchanges to obtain supplementary health coverage while on a waiting list for Medicaidfunded home and community-based services. NDRC also has published a fact sheet explaining how individuals with disabilities who are eligible for Medicaid coverage based on their income (in states that opted to expand Medicaid coverage to all individuals earning below 138 percent of the federal poverty line) can access full Medicaid coverage by establishing that they are “medically frail.” Although states have the option of providing only an alternative, “benchmark” Medicaid plan to most people who qualify for coverage based on income alone, people who are “medically frail,” including individuals with disabilities, are eligible for coverage through the state’s traditional Medicaid package. This may provide increased access to home- and community-based services, including supported employment services.
Further information is available via the NDRC web site. 1 http://www.nationaldisabilitynavigator.org/ndnrc-materials/fact-sheets