Washington, June 28, 2012
Easter Seals applauds the U.S. Supreme Court on its Affordable Care Act (ACA) ruling. The Court’s ruling ensures the continuation of the law’s policies that protect access to private health insurance for children with pre-existing conditions and young adult dependent children up to the age of 26, bar lifetime health insurance caps, and leaves in place the essential policies that will take effect in 2014. Easter Seals believes access to appropriate and high quality health care services is essential for people with disabilities to live, learn, work and play in their communities. Simply put, the ACA is critical to millions of families living with disabilities.
“Thanks to the ACA, millions of parents of children with disabilities are breathing a huge sigh of relief knowing their children will not be dropped from their insurance,” says James E. Williams, Jr., president and chief executive officer, Easter Seals. “Prior to the ACA, our families whose children became uninsured had no choice but to impoverish themselves in order to access Medicaid.”
Additionally, through the ACA, adults with disabilities who have pre-existing conditions will soon be able to buy health insurance that meets their needs beginning in 2014.
“People with disabilities and their families have their lives dictated by the status of their health insurance. If a family with a child with a disability has insurance, that family typically will not change jobs for fear of losing coverage,” says Katy Neas, senior vice president, government relations, Easter Seals. “The Supreme Court’s ruling today tells these families they can make decisions about what is best for them as a family, and not be controlled by fear of losing health insurance coverage.”
The ACA is changing the lives of millions of people living with disabilities. Families no longer have to worry about the financial consequences of not having insurance because the ACA ensures children with pre-existing conditions cannot be dropped from private health insurance. Similarly, individuals with chronic health conditions don’t have to worry about losing coverage if they need care that exceeds their insurance company’s lifetime cap. The ACA also provides guidance to states to increase the availability of home and community-based services so people with disabilities can access needed care in settings other than nursing homes.
What Access to Health Insurance Means to People with Disabilities
Ben Trockman is a 23-year-old dynamic college student with a very bright future ahead of him, but also several life-long health challenges because of a motocross accident when he was 17. Ben has a spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed below the neck. Over the last couple years, he’s benefitted from some of the most cutting-edge rehabilitation practices in the world. And today, innovative technology plays a role in his life—from the ramp that enables him to get into his van to the voice-activated computer he uses to take tests, write papers, keep up with his friends on Facebook, and manage a fantasy football team. Ben’s planning for a career when he graduates—possibly in public relations or as a sports writer.
He’s the first to admit, “none of this would be possible without health insurance.” In Ben’s own words on the importance of having health insurance for his family.
“Health insurance is absolutely one of the most important things in my life since my injury. Without having health insurance, I would not have been able to attend many different places around the country, from the Shephard Center in Atlanta and Kennedy Krieger in Baltimore to Easter Seals here in Evansville, where I learned more about my injury and the way life would change.
We learned, basically, how life is different with an injury such as mine, and how to deal with things on a day-to-day basis. We worked with different types of therapy, getting used to my wheelchair, knowing how to treat my body and how dangerous pressure sores were. We gained knowledge about so many important things that would have never been possible because of the extreme expenses, without health insurance. I figured out how much my body could do physically. I spent 3 months doing very intensive therapy, 5 hours a day. I learned so much about the way to treat my body with exercise and how important it was.
And now, I look around my room, all the important things that make life a little easier… my wheelchair, my alternating air pressure mattress on my bed, the lift above my bed that helps move me to and from… NONE of that would have been affordable without health insurance.”
Caroline Long is a sweet 11-year-old girl, whose fun personality comes through despite her inability to speak. She’s a fifth grader from Alabaster,Alabama, who loves school and outings with her family. Caroline has Rett syndrome, a disorder of the nervous system that affects only girls. Generally considered a severe form of autism, it especially affects expressive language and hand use.
When it comes to health insurance, her family believes “it would be devastating to lose, it’s that critical. It helps provide Caroline with a quality of life that would be compromised. Having a child with multiple medical needs, never knowing what is around the next corner, I simply can not imagine not having health insurance. I love having the freedom to choose the Doctors I want. Health insurance provides a level of "freedom" from worry, to some degree.”
About Easter Seals
Easter Seals is the leading non-profit provider of services for individuals with autism, developmental disabilities, physical disabilities and other special needs. For more than 90 years, we have been offering help and hope to children and adults living with disabilities, and to the families who love them. Through therapy, training, education and support services, Easter Seals creates life-changing solutions so that people with disabilities can live, learn, work and play. Learn more at www.easterseals.com and www.makethefirstfivecount.org.