For people with disabilities, having access to health care is often a key factor in making employment possible – but conversely, that often depends on an individual’s ability to maintain a connection to the healthcare system through work. The ACA opened another way for people to purchase adequate, affordable health care coverage. But for vocational rehab counselors oriented to helping a special population wend their way through existing bureaucracies, there were new twists and turns to learn. We helped develop a toolkit covering these changes from a VR perspective, so they could effectively help clients seize the new opportunity.
Working for the Institute on Rehabilitation Issues, we co-authored a toolkit for the 37th IRI that would help counselors better understand how the ACA may affect their clients. It includes sections on essential health benefits for persons with disabilities, which VR consumers may be a good fit for marketplace coverage, and expanded Medicaid for VR consumers. By providing typical scenarios of working with VR consumers and how the ACA may impact their situations, it will enable counselors to better understand how the ACA may affect clients, refer clients to experts for help, and include health coverage in a plan for education or employment. It also helps foster a better understanding of how the changes in the healthcare system create additional ways to eliminate barriers to employment for both people and businesses.
The institute, funded by the U.S. Department of Education, supports public rehabilitation programs, especially for those with disabilities. We worked in collaboration with the partnership of the U.S. Department of Education, the Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation, and George Washington University.