The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), signed into law by President Obama in 2010, provided numerous provisions benefitting people with developmental disabilities. While some provisions went into effect in 2012, others were slated to take effect in 2014.
Provisions such as an extension of the Money Follows the Person (MFP) demonstration grants expanded the initiative designed to reduce reliance on institutional services and develop community-based, long-term services, and support options. Ohio was one of 17 states to receive $100 million in federal funding to transition thousands with disabilities from institutions to home and community-based settings.
Additionally, the ACA made improvements to the Medicaid Home- and Community-Based Services (HCBS) option known as the “waiver program.” The act offered incentives to encourage more cost-effective home care services to help with basic needs such as dressing, bathing, chores, preparing meals, or other activities while living independently.
The Affordable Care Act also prohibited discrimination based on disability under any health program or activity that receives federal funding or assistance. Prior to ACA, plans could refuse to provide coverage to people with disabilities. Under ACA, health insurance companies were no longer allowed to deny coverage, charge higher premiums, or exclude benefits based on pre-existing conditions. Additionally, individuals with disabilities often were in danger of losing their health insurance coverage when the costs of their treatment hit lifetime caps set by insurance plans. The ACA prohibited insurance plans from imposing lifetime dollar limits on many of the health benefits, and eliminated annual limits on health benefits.
Photo Source: Executive Office of the President of the United States / Public Domain