DISABILITY RIGHTS & RESOURCES!
Check out our October newsletter for key information about the new Health Insurance Marketplace, a NCIL report on how the government shutdown is impacting people with disabilities, “save the dates” for important events (like White Cane Day on October 19!), and an introduction to our upcoming Disability History Exhibit.
HEALTH INSURANCE EXCHANGE OPENS
On October 1, the new Health Insurance Exchange went live, with marketplaces opening for enrollment across the country. In Alabama, roughly 600,000 individuals are uninsured and could be eligible for coverage under Obamacare. Our state has adopted the federally-run marketplace, which serves as a kind of centralized coverage hub that allows purchasers to shop and compare insurance plans. There is a great deal of information available concerning the recent changes, so we’ve compiled some excellent resources and key takeaway points:
– Access to health insurance cannot be denied due to a pre-existing condition.
– The Insurance Exchange also serves as a screening service to determine if a person is eligible for Medicaid or a Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
– There are several Qualified Health Plans to choose from, which are sorted into categories based on the percentage of health costs covered under that plan. The four main “levels” are Bronze (which pays on average 60% of costs and requires a lower monthly premium), Silver (70%), Gold (80%), and Platinum (pays on average 90% of costs and requires a higher monthly premium).
– There is also a Catastrophic Plan, which has some of the lowest premiums and would offer emergency coverage.
– Purchasers should see if they are eligible for an Advanced Premium Tax Credit, which provides financial assistance for monthly premiums. To see what kind of Tax Credit you might be eligible for, check out the subsidy calculator from the Kaiser Family Foundation.
– For Open Enrollment periods and important dates, please click here.
– To help Alabamians enroll in the Health Insurance Exchange, the state has set up “Navigator” sites with experts who can answer questions and walk you through the enrollment process. For more information on these sites and to contact a navigator near you, visit http://enrollala.com/.
Other great resources include www.healthcare.gov, www.cms.gov, http://www.hhs.gov/healthcare/facts/bystate/al.html, and the Health Insurance Call Centers (1-800-318-2596).
NCIL: HOW THE GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN IS AFFECTING THE INDEPENENT LIVING COMMUNITY
The National Council on Independent Living recently issued a report on how the government shutdown is impacting the lives of people with disabilities. Ashton Rosin, NCIL’s Policy Intern, states that even though widely-used benefit programs like Social Security and Medicaid will continue to operate, services like replacing lost Social Security cards and obtaining proof of income are not currently available, and there could be delays in processing new disability applications. The good news is that Medicare and Medicaid will continue during the shutdown because those programs do not rely on funding dictated by congressional annual spending laws.
Furthermore, the shutdown will not affect implementation of federally-run (versus state-run) Health Insurance Exchanges, which opened in over 30 states October 1. However, a long-term shutdown could cause more complications: “It is clear that the longer the shutdown lasts, along with the looming debt crisis, the more precarious of a position we will all be in. NCIL encourages our members to be aware and speak up!” NCIL wants to hear directly from YOU how the government shutdown has affected YOUR life “to demonstrate the damaging effects of the shutdown on the disability community.” Please contact Ashton Rosin at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your story.
JOIN US FOR THE 2013 INAUGURUAL WHITE CANE WALK!
The first ever Alabama White Cane Walk is this Saturday, October 19! The white cane was introduced in 1931 by the Lions Club International as a way to promote safety and increased mobility for blind individuals. The original white cane concept has been modified over the years and remains to this day an important symbol of the achievements and developments made by those who are blind and visually impaired.
Registration will take place at Disability Rights & Resources from 8-9 AM. Participants will walk a historic trail through the Civil Rights District to Linn Park. The event will also include free vision screenings, presentations on assistive technology and low vision aids, and remarks from the mayor. For more information, click here. We hope to see you all this Saturday!
JOB OPENING FOR PEER ADVOCATE
Disability Rights & Resources currently has an opening for a full-time Peer Advocate to provide independent living services in Blount and St. Clair counties. The individual will assist people with disabilities in achieving their independent living goals, provide peer support, training, information and referrals, and outreach and advocate as needed. The right candidate must be able to work independently, have excellent communication skills and access to reliable transportation. People with disabilities are encouraged to apply! To submit application materials, please click here.
22-PANEL DISABILITY HISTORY EXHIBIT COMING SOON TO DISABILITY RIGHTS & RESOURCES!
Disability Rights & Resources will soon have the opportunity to host an exhibit on the history of disability! The display features a 22-panel collage that traces 5,000 years of what its creators call the “seldom-told history” of individuals with disabilities. Advocating Change Together (ACT), a disability rights non-profit in St. Paul, Minnesota, is the original home of the exhibit, which “brings viewers through an illustrated timeline that shows society’s attitudes and how they affect the lives of people with disabilities.” The panels are 25″ x 36″ and will be made fully accessible and open to the public. The display will be on loan from People First of Alabama. Stay tuned for dates and more information! You can also preview the exhibit online.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS!
October 16: Montgomery Center for Independent Living “Chat and Chew” 11am-1pm, Montgomery
October 18: ALHousingSearch.org Advisory Board Meeting, Disability Rights & Resources
October 19: Inaugural White Cane Walk, 8am-1pm, Disability Rights & Resources
October 23 & 24: 2013 Alabama Assistive Technology Expo & Conference (ALATEC), Auburn University
*Disability Rights & Resources Technology Lab Open Mon-Fri 8:30-4:00