Resource Guide – Health Insurance

by KL on July 23, 2010

How can I get health insurance and disability benefits?

We have prepared a collection of resource guides that present answers to some of the most frequently asked questions at our meetings. Our goal is to give you a quick overview and a starting point for exploring the subject on your own.

Q. I am confused about health insurance. How do I apply for Social Security Disability?  Does health care come with it?

A. Health insurance is a very complex subject. Some of the resources listed give you short summaries of health insurance issues while others will provide as many details as you can tolerate. Health insurance is usually provided by employer group plans. If you are not employed you have to find individual insurance. The links below explain how to deal with losing health coverage if you lose your job and how to get individual health insurance.

If you become disabled you may be eligible for a spectrum of insurance programs including Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI), state disability, union or other association disability, private disability, etc. Healthcare benefits vary by disability programs. You have to review each program for specific benefits.

The Affordable Care Act was passed in March, 2010. This health care reform legislation brings many changes in who can get health insurance, how health care costs will be lowered and other new protections for the consumer. The Act will not be implemented all at once. Portions of the law have already taken effect. Other changes will be implemented through 2014 and beyond.

You will have to monitor the changes that will affect you to be able to get the improved health care the new law promises

Getting and Keeping Health Insurance

Health Insurance Resource Center
This is a health insurance web portal that provides information about health insurance. It has a wealth of resources to help you understand all aspects of health insurance. They also have a referral service for comparing insurance plans.

Health Insurance – Provision of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services
This is an excellent overview of health insurance coverage and how it works regardless of how you obtain it.

Georgetown University’s Health Policy Institute
Consumer Guides for Getting and Keeping Health Insurance in Every State and the District of Columbia

California Consumer Guide to Getting and Keeping Health Insurance
This is the 43-page guide for California. Similar guides are available for all 50 states. The guide is very comprehensive and gives you authoritative information to help you figure out your health insurance options.

How to shop for health insurance
This is an excellent article that provides a good overview and offers several links to help you make good decisions about buying health insurance.

Qualifying for Disability Insurance

Disability Benefits 101 – Working with a disability in California
The Income Support links provide excellent short explanations of the following programs: State Disability Insurance (SDI),  Social Security Disability Programs, Short Term Disability Insurance, Long Term Disability Insurance, CAPI, PASS, CalWORKs, Pell Grants, IHSS. If you want full details about these programs follow the links provided. The Health Coverage links provide information about Private Health Coverage, Medi-Cal, Medicare, and Prescription Drug Coverage.

State Disability Insurance Benefits
State disability insurance benefits are also called temporary disability insurance benefits and short-term disability insurance benefits. Only five states provide or require employers to provide short-term disability insurance benefits. (CA, HI, NJ, NY, RI)

Social Security — Benefits For People With Disabilities
The Social Security and Supplemental Security Income disability programs are the largest of several Federal programs that provide assistance to people with disabilities. While these two programs are different in many ways, both are administered by the Social Security Administration and only individuals who have a disability and meet medical criteria may qualify for benefits under either program.

Social Security Disability Insurance pays benefits to you and certain members of your family if you are “insured,” meaning that you worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) pays benefits based on financial need.

Disability Planner
Social Security pays only for total disability. No benefits are payable for partial disability or for short-term disability.

“Disability” under Social Security is based on your inability to work. SSA considers you disabled under Social Security rules if:

  • You cannot do work that you did before;
  • They decide that you cannot adjust to other work because of your medical condition(s); and
  • Your disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death.

Benefit Eligibility Screening Tool
The Benefit Eligibility Screening Tool (BEST) helps you find out if you could get benefits that Social Security administers. Based on your answers to questions, this tool will list benefits for which you might be eligible and tell you more information about how to qualify and apply.

Tags: health insurance, disability benefits, eligibility, SSA, SSI, Affordable Health Care Act, health care reform, benefits, consumer guides, California, Medicare, Medi-Cal,