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New health law could include added help for those on SSDI

There a lot of questions and concerns swirling around in the open marketplace of ideas about the Affordable Care Act. It can be difficult to know what's accurate and what is not in any given set of circumstances. One way to feel more confident that you are getting the right answers is to go to a source that is reliable.

The most reliable source might be to go to HealtCare.gov, the official website for the services that are supposed to be available through the ACA, but it's had its share of errors and glitches since it opened -- as the media has been so widely reporting. As a backup, Consumer Reports may serve well.

CR proved to be the source of some good information about a little known ACA benefit that we think could be particularly useful to those who rely on Social Security disability benefits to survive. It has to do with help they may well be eligible for in minimizing annual deductibles.

To describe what's available, Consumer Reports used the case of a woman who is on disability and living on $1,400 a month. She isn't eligible for Medicare yet.

She was told by one expert, correctly, that because of her low income she would receive a subsidy on her monthly premium for ACA coverage. But the expert also told her, incorrectly according to Consumer Reports, that the amount she would have to pay out of pocket each year, her annual deductible, would be $4,000 or more.

A Consumer Reports expert says the new health law ensures that those who are below 250 percent of the federal poverty level (which this woman is) not only get tax credits to lower premiums, but also qualify for advance tax breaks to help with out-of-pocket costs such as deductibles.

The key point to take away is that getting the right information, whether it has to do with the ACA or Social Security disability benefits, is crucial. And turning to those with experience in the related areas is always wise.

Source: ConsumerReports.org, "Heard of this little-known benefit of the new health law?," Nancy Metcalf, Oct. 11, 2013

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