NAELA Members Explain Impact of Affordable Care Act’s Health Insurance Marketplace on Elderly and People with Special Needs

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Health Insurance Marketplace enrollment begins October 1; will provide people with disabilities with more health care options.

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Matching clients' needs with available benefits is like putting together a puzzle. The ACA gave us a few more pieces...

Since March 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been making preventive care and prescription drugs more accessible and affordable for Americans, especially the elderly and people with special needs, who often find paying for medical and long-term care expenses to be more challenging. The Department of Health and Human Services has reported that 6.6 million Medicare beneficiaries have saved more than $7 billion on prescription drugs since the passage of the ACA, according to

Enrollment in the ACA's new Health Insurance Marketplace begins October 1, 2013, for coverage beginning January 1, 2014. The ACA prohibits insurance companies from denying people coverage if they have pre-existing conditions, denying them particular services, or charging them more for coverage based on their health status. With enrollment just around the corner, it’s important to know what the ACA means for you. NAELA member attorneys will be actively helping families and guardians understand how the ACA will affect medical and long-term care insurance options and create a financial and legal plan that works best for a specific situation.

In “How the Affordable Care Act Affects Special Needs Planning,” an article published in the August/September 2013 issues of NAELA News by NAELA members Kevin Urbatsch, Esq., and Michele Fuller, Esq., the authors state, “…Much of the ACA is focused on protecting the rights of people with chronic, long-term physical or cognitive conditions…Under the provisions of the ACA, many of the barriers to private health care for persons with disabilities will disappear. The biggest change is that a pre-existing condition will no longer deny an individual access to private health care. The ACA also makes private health care more attractive because it removes the lifetime limits on health insurance that made private plans unattractive to many persons with profound disabilities.”

“Special needs planning and Elder Law attorneys, with their particular expertise and knowledge of public and private resources, will be uniquely positioned to assist families in evaluating all available health care options. The ACA, while adding complexity for the consumer, opens doors for increased access to care for people with disabilities. Matching clients' needs with available benefits is like putting together a puzzle. The ACA gave us a few more pieces,” said Urbatsch.

The new Health Insurance Marketplace is designed to help people who don't have any health insurance. The Marketplace won't have an effect on those people who have their health insurance through Medicare. The Medicare open enrollment period (October 15-December 7, 2013) is a time of increased fraudulent activities and people with Medicare should be cautious about offers to sell them a health plan.

NAELA members are dedicated to helping the elderly, people with special needs, and their families. The ACA and health care reform is often talked about in the news, but it’s not always easy to put all the pieces together. Elder and Special Needs Law attorneys are knowledgeable about the ACA. NAELA members and other advocates across the country are helping clients understand its impact on a personal level and providing guidance in making the right long-term choices,” said NAELA President Howard S. Krooks, CELA, CAP.

To receive a free NAELA brochure: “Questions and Answers When Looking for an Elder or Special Needs Law Attorney,” contact Communications Associate Abby Matienzo by email [amatienzo(at)naela(dot)org] or phone at 703-942-5711 #230.

Find an Elder and Special Needs Law attorney in your area using NAELA’s Member Directory.

Members of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) are attorneys who are experienced and trained in working with the legal problems of aging Americans and individuals of all ages with disabilities. Established in 1987, NAELA is a non-profit association that assists lawyers, bar organizations and others. The mission of NAELA is to establish NAELA members as the premier providers of legal advocacy, guidance and services to enhance the lives of people with special needs and people as they age. NAELA currently has members across the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom. For more information, visit


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Abby Matienzo, Communications Associate
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