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Coverage for health screenings under the Affordable Care Act

The federal healthcare reform law known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is not only about encouraging people without health insurance to get it. The ACA greatly affects many areas of American life, from tax consequences for small businesses to how medical outcomes are monitored. 

Not surprisingly, then, the ACA also affects the Social Security disability system. In particular, in this post, let's look at how the ACA may affect health screenings for people with disabilities.

In Southeast Michigan and across the nation, many people rely on Medicaid to pay for these screenings. 

By health screenings, we mean tests like mammograms and colonoscopies. These are basic but very important procedures that are needed to assess risks of cancer and other health problems.

Of course, these screenings have to be paid for. The ACA seeks to improve access to them by requiring private insurers to extend more coverage and expanding Medicare and Medicaid.

But the ACA did not also extend this requirement to those adults who already receive healthcare benefits through Medicaid programs run by states. Many people who receive such benefits are also eligible for the Social Security disability program.

This was not necessarily a conscious omission by Congress. After all, the ACA is a mammoth law, packed with a host of complicated provisions.

It is becoming clearer now, however, that most state-run Medicaid programs lack sufficient coverage for the most important types of preventive services.  These are services such as screenings for heart disease or for cancer.

The details of what is covered and what is not vary considerably by state. But people with disabilities are definitely affected because many of them are Medicaid beneficiaries.

Source: Disability Scoop, "For Many With Disabilities," Health Screenings Still Not Covered," Shaun Heasley, July 10, 2013

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