How the Supreme Court Ruling on Affordable Care Act Benefits the Disabled
The U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act is a big win for people with disabilities. It means that people with pre-existing health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes or cancer can’t be denied health insurance. And for insured Americans who get sick, they won’t have to fear that their safety net will be cancelled on them at a time when they are most vulnerable and in need of coverage to safeguard them from financial ruin.
As John Seffrin, chief executive of the American Cancer Society said, the Supreme Court ruling is “a victory for people with cancer and their families nationwide, who for decades have been denied health coverage, charged far more than they can afford for lifesaving care and forced to spend their life savings on necessary treatment, simply because of a pre-existing condition.”
What Parts of the Law are in Affect Now?
• Insurers can’t cancel your health insurance if you become sick
• There is no lifetime maximum on benefits
• Insurers must issue rebates to consumers by August 1 if they have spent less than 80-85 percent of premium dollars on medical care
• Insurers can’t deny coverage to children with pre-existing conditions
• Youth can be covered on their parents’ health plan until age 26
• Health plans, including Medicare, must fully cover preventive wellness services at no cost to the consumer
• The “doughnut hole” gap in Medicare Part D prescription drug plans is narrowing and will be closed by 2020
What Parts of the Law Will Go into Affect in 2014?
• Adults with pre-existing health conditions can’t be denied health insurance
• States will provide exchanges where people who don’t qualify for Medicaid can shop for affordable health insurance
• Insurance will not be cancelled due to illness
• People who don’t get health insurance will be required to pay a tax penalty when they file their federal income tax return
How Much is the Tax Penalty for Not Having Health Insurance?
In 2014, the tax penalty will be:
• 1 percent of family income, or
• $95 per adult and $47.50 per child up to $285 per family
By 2016, the penalty will be:
• 2.5 percent of family income, or
• $695 per adult and $347.50 per child up to $2,085 per family
Considering that most Americans will require health care services at some point in their lives, the tax, which was called a “mandate” when the law was passed in 2010, provides a solution to covering the uninsured.
And for people with severe medical conditions who haven’t been able to afford to go to a doctor, it will be easier to get medical support to prove disability when applying for Social Security disability benefits.
Even though the theater of politics may jeopardize the health care law, people with disabilities know that if the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented in 2014, they can’t be denied health insurance, or lose it.