Health care for the disabled and the Affordable Care Act

From the Health Affairs blog:

Among its myriad elements, the Affordable Care Act contains a breakthrough provision that, if implemented, could dramatically alter the way that health insurance coverage works for persons with disabilities. [PPACA § 1302(b)(4)(B)] This provision applicable to health insurance products sold in the individual and small group markets and therefore subject to the essential health benefits (EHB) coverage standard, requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to bar the use of insurance coverage rules that discriminate on the basis of disability.

However, final EHB rules issued on February 20th, 2013 effectively leave this ban unimplemented. A draft CMS document made available to the public on February 21 by Inside Health Policy suggests that the agency will monitor qualified health plans (QHPs) for potential discrimination. But the monitoring process suggested in the draft excludes any mechanism for detecting one of the most potent forms of plan discrimination, the use of benefit designs and coverage determination procedures that cause the denial of coverage for children and adults whose disabilities prevent them from “recovering” from their disability. Whether the ACA protections are left unimplemented remains to be seen.

Read the complete post here:  ‘A Lost Opportunity For Persons With Disabilities? The Final Essential Health Benefits Rule‘ by Sara Rosenbaum.

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