Thursday, April 12, 2018
Shared from M&L Special Needs Planning, LLC
At M&L Special Needs Planning, we are first and foremost devoted to helping individuals with disabilities (and their families) plan for all stages of their special needs journey. We help individuals handle the financial aspects of their plan by offering a Comprehensive Special Needs Financial Life Plan, as well as offering consultations on how to apply for various federal government benefits. We also offer a number of workshops that can help parents of individuals with disabilities understand the ins and outs of a number of disability related topics.
As we help families with their financial and life planning concerns, we are often able to identify gaps between the services/supports that individuals with disabilities need, and the benefits – financial and otherwise – government agencies provide. Sometimes, families are financially able to bridge that gap; we are able to provide advice and financial planning to help families in this regard. Other times individuals with disabilities simply cannot afford what they need and have to do without. This gap is particularly noticeable when individuals with disabilities age out of the school system and enter the “adult” world.
One example of this can be found close to home, here in Maryland. This issue – which directly affects individuals that are hard of hearing or deaf – was brought to light by the advocacy organization Disability Rights Maryland a few years ago. Through their advocacy work they discovered that in Maryland, adults on Medicaid do not receive coverage for hearing aids or cochlear implants even when these devices are medically necessary for communication.[i] Maryland Medicaid does provide hearing aids and cochlear implants, but only to children through age 20.
The folks at Disability Rights Maryland disagreed with this. They felt that this practice is discriminatory, and that Medicaid was obligated to cover anything that was medically necessary for communication. Thankfully, a team of lawyers at Sidley Austin LLP agreed – they offered their services pro bono and were able to settle a case enabling an adult male to have these services covered by Medicaid.
Disability Rights Maryland continued to advocate for other individuals – with success. As published on their website in early March, “the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) has announced that starting in July 2018, Medicaid will cover medically necessary cochlear implants and hearing aids for adults. The Department has stated that it is working on regulations to implement these changes.”
In response to a request for more information, Disability Rights Maryland stated that their website will be updated with the proposed regulations as soon as they are published in the Maryland Register. They expect that to take place within the next few months.
To read the Disability Rights Maryland statement in full, please follow this link. If you would like more information on this topic, or any topic related to financial and life planning for individuals with disabilities please do not hesitate to contact us