Friday, December 19, 2014
The American Association on Health and Disability (AAHD) is pleased to announce the publication of a new fact sheet for the National Disability Navigator Resource Collaborative (NDNRC). “What to Know When Assisting a Consumer with Mental Illness” is intended to help Navigators identify issues that are unique to consumers with mental health conditions to assist them in making decisions related to their healthcare coverage. This fact sheet can be found here. Special thanks to NAMI (the National Alliance on Mental Illness) for their authorship of this fact sheet. This fact sheet is the latest in a series of new fact sheets that the NDNRC is releasing which provide navigators and other enrollment specialists with information they need to help these specific populations within the disability community.
Thursday, December 18, 2014
Answers to Some of the Most Commonly Asked Questions
Q: I don’t have health insurance, and I missed the deadline to have coverage starting . Can I still enroll? Will I be penalized for missing part of the year?
A: Yes, you can still enroll. Open Enrollment in the Health Insurance Marketplace runs until , so there’s still time to get covered. If you do that, and if you keep your policy in force for the rest of 2015, you won’t have to pay a Shared Responsibility Fee, even though you had a month or two without coverage. You can do this by going to www.healthcare.gov, or calling the Marketplace at 1-800-318-2596, any time. Phone lines are open 24 hours every day. You can also find local help by going to localhelp.healthcare.gov and entering your City and State or Zip Code. Local assistors, trained on the Health Insurance Marketplace, who are unbiased, are available to help you shop, compare and enroll.
Q: I already have health insurance coverage, through the Health Insurance Marketplace, which automatically renewed, but the premium went up. Can I still shop for a better deal?
A: Yes. You can still change plans before , and the change will be effective . And many people will find that shopping in the Health Insurance Marketplace can really pay off. More than 70% of those already enrolled can find a lower premium plan, at the same metal level, before tax credits, than they have now. Many consumers are finding plans, after tax credits, for $100 a month, or less. In addition, going back into the Marketplace, will help assure you of getting all the tax credits for which you are eligible. If your allowed tax credit went up on 2015, but you automatically renewed, you could be missing out on lower upfront costs for your policy. On the other hand, if your allowed credits went down, you need to know that now, so you won’t have to repay the excess when you file your taxes next year.
Q: Filling out the application in the Health Insurance Marketplace was time-consuming last year. Do I have to go through the whole thing again?
A: No. If you’ve already filled out an application, you’ll find about 90% of the renewal document is already filled in with information you’ve given. It’s easy to change anything if you need to. If you’re new to Marketplace, you’ll be directed to an all-new application page, which is much shorter and simpler than last year’s, for the vast majority of people.
For more information, visit www.healthcare.gov, or call the Marketplace call center at
1-800-318-2596, 24 hours a day, except for major holidays. There is help in up to 150 different languages.
Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Family Voices Indiana shares the following announcement from NDI:
(Washington, D.C. -) - Last night, the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly passed the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act of 2014 by a vote of 76 to 16. First introduced in 2006, and subsequent sessions of Congress, the ABLE Act will allow people with disabilities (with an age of onset up to 26 years old) and their families the opportunity to create a tax-exempt savings account that can be used for maintaining health, independence and quality of life.
"Today marks a new day in our country's understanding and support of people with disabilities and their families," Michael Morris, National Disability Institute (NDI) Executive Director, said. "A major victory for the disability community, ABLE, for the very first time in our country's policy on disability, recognizes that there are added costs to living with a disability." He continued. "For far too long, federally imposed asset limits to remain eligible for critical public benefits have served as a roadblock toward greater financial independence for the millions of individuals living with a disability."
NDI has long championed the ABLE Act as a critical strategy to providing a pathway to a better economic future for all people with disabilities. As the nation's first nonprofit dedicated to improving the financial health and future of all people with disabilities, the organization has extensively documented and called attention to the daily reality and extra expenses associated with living with a disability, and the challenges of navigating the complex web of government rules to maintain public benefits eligibility.
In recognition of this unprecedented legislation, NDI has created a list of 10 items about ABLE accounts that individuals with disabilities and their families should know:
ABLE Accounts: 10 Things You Must Know
- What is an ABLE account?
- Why the need for ABLE accounts?
- Am I eligible for an ABLE account?
- Are there limits to how much money can be put in an ABLE account?
- Which expenses are allowed by ABLE accounts?
- Where do I go to open an ABLE account?
- Can I have more than one ABLE account?
- Will states offer options to invest the savings contributed to an ABLE account?
- How many eligible individuals and families might benefit from establishing an ABLE account?
- How is an ABLE account different than a special needs or pooled trust?
ABLE Accounts, which are tax-advantaged savings accounts for individuals with disabilities and their families, will be created as a result of the passage of the ABLE Act of 2014. Income earned by the accounts would not be taxed. Contributions to the account made by any person (the account beneficiary, family and friends) would not be tax deductible.
Millions of individuals with disabilities and their families depend on a wide variety of public benefits for income, health care and food and housing assistance. Eligibility for these public benefits (SSI, SNAP, Medicaid) require meeting a means or resource test that limits eligibility to individuals to report more than $2,000 in cash savings, retirement funds and other items of significant value. To remain eligible for these public benefits, an individual must remain poor. For the first time in public policy, the ABLE Act recognizes the extra and significant costs of living with a disability. These include costs, related to raising a child with significant disabilities or a working age adult with disabilities, for accessible housing and transportation, personal assistance services, assistive technology and health care not covered by insurance, Medicaid or Medicare.
For the first time, eligible individuals and families will be allowed to establish ABLE savings accounts that will not affect their eligibility for SSI, Medicaid and other public benefits. The legislation explains further that an ABLE account will, with private savings, "secure funding for disability-related expenses on behalf of designated beneficiaries with disabilities that will supplement, but not supplant, benefits provided through private insurance, Medicaid, SSI, the beneficiary's employment and other sources."
Passage of legislation is a result of a series of compromises. The final version of the ABLE Act limits eligibility to individuals with significant disabilities with an age of onset of disability before turning 26 years of age. If you meet this criteria and are also receiving benefits already under SSI and/or SSDI, you are automatically eligible to establish an ABLE account. If you are not a recipient of SSI and/or SSDI, but still meet the age of onset disability requirement, you would still be eligible to open an ABLE account if you meet SSI criteria regarding significant functional limitations. The regulations to be written in 2015 by the Treasury Department will have to explain further the standard of proof and required medical documentation. You need not be under the age of 26 to be eligible for an ABLE account. You could be over the age of 26, but must have the documentation of disability that indicates age of onset before the age of 26.
The total annual contributions by all participating individuals, including family and friends, is $14,000. The amount will be adjusted annually for inflation. Under current tax law, $14,000 is the maximum amount that individuals can make as a gift to someone else and not pay taxes (gift tax exclusion). The total limit over time that could be made to an ABLE account will be subject to the individual state and their limit for education-related 529 savings accounts. Many states have set this limit at more than $300,000 per plan. However, for individuals with disabilities who are recipients of SSI and Medicaid, the ABLE Act sets some further limitations. The first $100,000 in ABLE accounts would be exempted from the SSI $2,000 individual resource limit. If and when an ABLE account exceeds $100,000, the beneficiary would be suspended from eligibility for SSI benefits and no longer receive that monthly income. However, the beneficiary would continue to be eligible for Medicaid. States would be able to recoup some expenses through Medicaid upon the death of the beneficiary.
A "qualified disability expense" means any expense related to the designated beneficiary as a result of living a life with disabilities. These include education, housing, transportation, employment training and support, assistive technology, personal support services, health care expenses, financial management and administrative services and other expenses which will be further described in regulations to be developed in 2015 by the Treasury Department.
Each state is responsible for establishing and operating an ABLE program. If a state should choose not to establish its own program, the state may choose to contract with another state to still offer its eligible individuals with significant disabilities the opportunity to open an ABLE account.
After President Obama signs the ABLE Act, the Secretary of the Department of Treasury will begin to develop regulations that will guide the states in terms of a) the information required to be presented to open an ABLE account; b) the documentation needed to meet the requirements of ABLE account eligibility for a person with a disability; and c) the definition details of "qualified disability expenses" and the documentation that will be needed for tax reporting.
No accounts can be established until the regulations are finalized following a public comment period on proposed rules for program implementation. States will begin to accept applications to establish ABLE accounts before the end of 2015.
No. The ABLE Act limits the opportunity to one ABLE account per eligible individual.
Like state 529 college savings plans, states are likely to offer qualified individuals and families multiple options to establish ABLE accounts with varied investment strategies. Each individual and family will need to project possible future needs and costs over time, and to assess their risk tolerance for possible future investment strategies to grow their savings. Account contributors or designated beneficiaries are limited, by the ABLE Act, to change the way their money is invested in the account up to two times per year.
There are 58 million individuals with disabilities in the United States. To meet the definition of significant disability required by the legislation to be eligible to establish an ABLE account, the conservative number would be approximately 10 percent of the larger group, or 5.8 million individuals and families. Further analysis is needed to understand more fully the size of this market and more about their needs for new savings and investment products.
An ABLE Account will provide more choice and control for the beneficiary and family. Cost of establishing an account will be considerably less than either a Special Needs Trust (SNT) or Pooled Income Trust. With an ABLE account, account owners will have the ability to control their funds and, if circumstances change, still have other options available to them. Determining which option is the most appropriate will depend upon individual circumstances. For many families, the ABLE account will be a significant and viable option in addition to, rather than instead of, a Trust program.
In collaboration with The Catalyst Center, the National Center for Medical Home Implementation (NCMHI) has created four fact sheets which describe provisions of the Affordable Care Act which benefit children and youth with special health care needs. Written in plain language, each fact sheet is easy to read and understand. Families will find information related to:
- Concurrent Care for Children
- Habilitative Services
- Health Home Programs and Coordinated Care
- Health Insurance Marketplace and Medicaid Coverage for Children with Disabilities
If you need further information, feel free to contact 317 944 8982 firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday, December 14, 2014
Friday, December 12, 2014
The American Association on Health and Disability (AAHD) is pleased to announce the publication of two new fact sheets for the National Disability Navigator Resource Collaborative (NDNRC). “What to Know When Assisting a Consumer with Multiple Sclerosis” and “What to Know When Assisting a Consumer with Intellectual Disability” are intended to help Navigators identify what issues are unique to consumers with those conditions so that they can assist them as they make decisions related to their healthcare coverage. “What to Know When Assisting a Consumer with Multiple Sclerosis” can be found here. Special thanks to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society for their authorship of this fact sheet. “What to Know When Assisting a Consumer with Intellectual Disability” can be found here. Special thanks to The Arc for their authorship of that fact sheet.
Are you looking for local partners to help with outreach to the disability community? The NDNRC has funded eleven Community Outreach Collaboratives (COCs) for the second year of enrollment. The COCs will increase collaborations in the community, dissemination and outreach efforts and enrollment of people with disabilities in the ACA. To find a COC, click here.
Family Voices Indiana is the COC for Indiana. Feel free to contact us at 317 944 8982 email@example.com
Wednesday, December 10, 2014
To: Division of Disability and Rehabilitative Services Stakeholders
From: Nicole Norvell, Director, Division of Disability and Rehabilitative Services
Re: Reducing the Risk/Increasing the Response Webinar Link
Date: December 10, 2014
On December 3, 2014, the Division of Disability and Rehabilitative Services (DDRS) hosted a one-day seminar titled “Reducing the Risk/Increasing the Response: Developing Strategies for Addressing the Sexual Abuse of Adults and Children with Intellectual Disabilities.”
Dr. Nora Baladerian, director of the Disability and Abuse Project and one of the nation’s foremost experts on sexual abuse of people with disabilities, led the seminar, which was recorded and is available at the following link: http://webinar.isl.in.gov/p14eqwjtcga/.
Dr. Baladerian’s PowerPoint presentation is also available to download on the DDRS Announcements page.
DDRS is aware that there were issues with accessing the live webcast and would like to apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused those wishing to be part of the seminar.DDRS is also addressing these issues in order to provide better webinar experiences in the future.