M&L Special Needs Families Educates Families on Obamacare

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M&L Special Needs Planning. LLC reexamines Affordable Care Act and offers discussion on their company blog about how it can affect all Americans, particularly individuals with special needs.

M&L Special Needs Planning, LLC works to help families understand how policies such as the Affordable Care Act can affect them and their family member(s) with disabilities.

A recent health tracking survey released by the Kaiser Family Foundation reveals that 57% of Americans do not have enough information about the Affordable Care Act to determine how it will affect them and their families. In response to this survey, and as a part of their commitment to educate families on issues that can affect individuals with special needs, M&L Special Needs Planning takes an in-depth look at Obamacare on their company blog. The Washington, D.C. special needs planning company provides a back-to-basics explanation of the Affordable Care Act, including how health care reforms can affect all families, and which aspects of the Act are particularly beneficial to individuals with special needs.

According to the special needs planning company, Obamacare is primarily intended to ensure that every American can access affordable health insurance. This is a two-step process: first, insurance needs to become accessible to everyone; secondly, it needs to be affordable.

In order to make insurance accessible, the Obamacare reforms will remove the pre-existing condition, lifetime limit and coverage cap clauses enforced by insurance companies. By denying access to insurance because of previous or ongoing health issues, these clauses limit access to health insurance for many Americans. On July 1st, 2010, the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan was instituted. This program, also known as the PCIP, is the first step to removing the clauses that limit insurance access. The PCIP provides health care insurance options to individuals who have been uninsured for at least six months. According to the website created to provide Americans with information pertaining to the Affordable Care Act, this program is meant to act as a “bridge” to 2014 when all discrimination against pre-existing conditions will be prohibited.

To make access to health insurance affordable for Americans, a number of reforms will be enacted. These reforms include (but aren’t limited to) mandatory health insurance, health care exchanges, and an expansion of Medicaid.

Mandatory Health Insurance (individual/employer responsibility) ensures that all Americans have health insurance coverage, either through a personally purchased plan, an employee plan, or a government program. Americans who do not have insurance after this time will be subject to a tax penalty. (Note:  Americans who currently have health insurance coverage and who would like to remain on the same plan are able to do so.) Beginning in 2014, employers with 50+ employees are subject to a responsibility fee if they do not offer affordable insurance coverage to employees. Businesses with less than 50 employees are exempt, but can receive a tax credit for providing employee health insurance. Americans who aren’t offered insurance by their employers, or can’t afford to purchase insurance either from a private insurance company or via the health insurance exchange may qualify for free or low cost insurance under Medicaid or other programs, or may be exempt from individual responsibility.

The Health Insurance Exchange (also known as the Health Insurance Marketplace) proposed by Obamacare is essentially an online health care insurance store for Americans. Insurance plans will be categorized by price, benefits, and quality of coverage. This information will be written in plain language - clear, concise and easy to understand - this is a part of the Affordable Care Act’s stated commitment to promoting transparency in health care. Each health care exchange may be state run, or supported by the Department of Health and Human Services. Enrollment in the health care exchanges begins in late 2013.

Medicaid is a state run program that offers health insurance coverage to individuals, families and children with lower incomes, older people, and individuals with disabilities. Currently, Medicaid eligibility requirements vary from state to state, although most states provide an income cut off level as an eligibility requirement. Beginning in 2014, the Medicaid expansion ensures that most individuals younger than 65 with individual incomes of up to $15,000 per year are eligible for Medicaid health insurance coverage in all states.

According to M&L Special Needs Planning, four features of Obamacare in particular are beneficial to individuals with disabilities: elimination of clauses that limit access to insurance (pre-existing condition clause), age increase for children on parental insurance plan (to 26 years), elimination of the insurance coverage limit, and the inclusion of preventative services in insurance plans. A number of other reforms may be beneficial to individuals with disabilities as well; the Money Follows the Person Program and the Community First Choice Program aim to transition services from institutions into the community, and to improve Medicaid home-and-community based services. In addition to this, Obamacare also expresses a commitment to providing quality health care to individuals with disabilities by providing increased access to preventative and diagnostic services.

M&L Special Needs Planning, LLC works to help families understand how policies such as the Affordable Care Act can affect them and their family member(s) with disabilities. Through the website, the blog, the workshops and other services these financial planners strive to educate families and help them better plan for their financial future. Those wishing to learn more about this topic and others can visit the M&L Special Needs Planning, LLC website and are encouraged to contact them for more information.

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Maedi Tanham Carney
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