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Essential Health Benefits and People with Disabilities

Essential Health Benefits and People with Disabilities

This issue brief from the Commonwealth Fund examines how the ACA’s “essential health benefits” provision will help Americans with disabilities, who currently are subject to discrimination by insurers based on health status and health care need. The authors discuss the complex issues involved in implementing the essential benefits provision and offer recommendations to federal policymakers for ensuring that people with disabilities receive the full insurance benefits to which they are entitled. The Affordable Care Act directs the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services not to make coverage decisions, determine reimbursement rates, establish incentive programs, or design benefits in ways that discriminate against individuals because of their age, disability, or expected length of life.