If you have a disability, make sure that you get all the services you need, including preventive care and care for your disability. Your plan must provide you with access to the care you need.
When You Apply for Health Insurance
A group health plan, which you get through your job, cannot charge you more or refuse to cover you if you have a disability.
Until 2014, an individual health plan can refuse to insure an adult based on the adult’s health history. But it cannot deny you insurance just because you have a physical or mental disability.
You Have the Right To:
- Accessible and usable medical equipment at a provider's office or facility. For example, your doctor or health plan should help you find accessible weight scales, exam tables, and diagnostic medical equipment such as mammography and MRI.
- Have most physical barriers removed that make it hard for you to use your health care services.
- Extra time for visits if you need it.
- Health information you can use if you are blind, deaf, or have low vision.
- Take your service animal into exam rooms with you.
Getting the Services You Need
- If you disagree with your health plan about what you need, you can file a complaint with your plan.
- You or your doctor can ask for changes in the way services are offered. For example, you may need someone with special training to draw your blood. Your health plan must cover these services if there are medical reasons why you need them.
Durable Medical Equipment (DME)
- DME is medical equipment that can be used again, such as hospital beds and wheelchairs. Health plans do not have to cover most DME. If they do cover DME, they only pay for equipment you medically need, like a wheelchair if you cannot walk or oxygen if you have trouble breathing.
- You may have to pay part of the cost.
- You have to get prior approval from the plan before you get the equipment.
- Before you join a plan, ask if it covers the equipment you need and what the cost is.
Information on equipment and assistive technology
California Foundation for Independent Living Centers
Resources for people with disabilities
California Health Advocates
Information on Medicare, Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage, and financial aid for Medicare members
www.cahealthadvocates.org (Spanish and other languages)
Deaf Counseling, Advocacy and Referral Agency
Lists the Coalition of Agencies serving the deaf and hard of hearing in California
Disability Rights Advocates
View “Through the Maze, Edition II ©2008
A Guide to Health Care & Insurance Rights & Resources for Californians with Disabilities”
Disability Rights California
Legal information and assistance for people with disabilities
1-800-776-5746 (many languages)
Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF)
A national law and policy center to help people with disabilities
Disability Rights Legal Center
Legal aid and referrals for people with disabilities, including a Cancer Legal Resource Center, a Children's Benefits Access Guide, and other resources
Family Resource Center Network of California (FRCNCA)
Find your local center, which provides support for families of children with disabilities and special health care needs.
Health care advocacy for children with disabilities
In Home Support Services (IHSS)
Program to help low-income aged, blind, and disabled people remain safely in their own homes