What’s in the Health Care Bill for People with Disabilities for the Elderly?

The Health Insurance Marketplace provides options for people who have a disability and may not otherwise qualify for disability benefits. The first step is to apply for coverage through the Marketplace at the government’s healthcare website which is located at healthcare.gov. In this way you can discover if you are eligible for a private health plan using tax credits and income-based savings. You can also learn if you are eligible for Medicaid insurance coverage.

Medicaid Eligibility Based on Disability

After completing a Marketplace application through your state’s Medicaid office (or possibly through their website) you will know if you qualify for Medicaid based on having a disability. Specifically, if you have a mental health condition or a physical disability the impedes your ability to take care of your daily needs, attend school, or your ability to work, then you may qualify for benefits. Benefits can make it possible to get assistance with daily living activities whether it’s from a home healthcare aide, treatments at a medical facility, or admission to a nursing home.

Preexisting Health Conditions

Current legislation continues to protect persons with preexisting conditions in that by law they cannot be denied coverage from an insurance carrier on that basis. They also cannot charge more for premiums based on the information you provide them on your application.

Additional Options if Your Disability Does Not Qualify You for Medicaid

If you learn that are are not eligible for Medicaid based on your disability, you will have two additional options for health coverage available through the Marketplace:

  1. You may qualify for Medicaid on an income basis, if your average monthly earnings are below a certain amount. More than one state has expanded their Medicaid coverage and eligibility to any resident who earns less than a specific dollar amount, which varies by state. If you have previously been denied in the past because your income level was considered too high, reapply.
  2. A Health Insurance Marketplace insurance plan may become affordable to you using premium tax credits and other savings tools. Your income and household size will have a bearing on this.

Housing Choice Vouchers

In the fall of 2018, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced that they received nearly $100 million in Mainstream Housing Choice Vouchers. Those vouchers will go to 285 public housing authorities across 45 states as well as Guam and the District of Columbia. There will be 12,000 additional vouchers as a result and they will go toward non-elderly persons who are low income and have disabilities. In particular, the housing agencies must prioritize the following categories of people when providing them with the new vouchers:

  • Those who are transitioning from segregated settings such as an institution.
  • Those who are at great risk of being institutionalized.
  • Those who are currently homeless.
  • Those who are at risk for homelessness.

Due to the 2018 federal government shutdown, some services have been reduced or changes to programs are being postponed until after the government resumes regular operations. Check with your state’s Marketplace website and other resources for updates.

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