The Supreme Court’s Affordable Care Act Ruling is Good for Families that have Loved Ones with Special Needs
The U.S. Supreme Court case Florida v. Department of Health and Human Services, which challenged the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has been covered heavily by mainstream and online media outlets. The Court heard arguments on the case in a historical three day session March 26-28, 2012.
The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the individual mandate and most provisions of the Affordable Care Act. A federal penalty on states not cooperating with the Medicaid expansion provision of the law was deemed unconstitutional but Chief Justice John Roberts gave Congress a constitutional antidote with his opinion.
While most news outlets have focused on the political outcome of the Court’s decision, they have failed to cover the important issue of how the ruling will affect the lives of those with special needs. Had the Court overturned the law in its entirety, people caring for loved ones with special needs would have lost access to many benefits provided by the Affordable Care Act.
Prior to the Affordable Care Act, employer plans and individual health insurance policies could exclude children 19 and under with special needs as they were often determined to be “pre-existing conditions.”
Special needs children and adults will require more medical attention in their lifetime than other individuals. The law now prohibits insurance companies from setting a maximum lifetime benefit which means special needs patients cannot lose their health coverage because of too many claims or because they have exceeded a policy limit.
For more information on the Affordable Care Act, visit www.hhs.gov or www.healthcare.gov. For information on special education advocacy, special needs planning, guardianships or transition planning, visit www.littmankrooks.com or www.specialneedsnewyork.com.