In a world full of technology, it is easy to assume we all have equal access to Medicare information. But for those who are blind or visually impaired, this is not the case. In 2016, three blind Medicare beneficiaries changed the path for blind seniors and Medicare eligibles.
National Federation of the Blind vs. Centers of Medicare and Medicare Services
In 2016, three blind beneficiaries decided to challenge how Medicare information is provided to those who are blind or have low-vision. The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) partnered with these three beneficiaries and aimed to make a change among the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)
This dispute brought attention to those who are Medicare-eligible and blind and highlighted that they are not provided with equal access to Medicare information. They explained that there was a lack of materials available to someone who was blind or had vision disabilities
Two years later, they reached an agreement that requires CMS to provide materials for blind or visually impaired beneficiaries in formats such as Braille, large print, and audio. CMS is also now required to extend any time restraints for beneficiaries who have difficulty accessing time-sensitive information.
CMS has responded quickly and implemented critical procedural policies, including training employees in compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. They are also testing the accessibility of materials on Medicare.gov, providing e-books, and establishing Customer Accessibility Resource Staff.
Blind Medicare Coverage and the Role of Service Animals
Blind beneficiaries may qualify for benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA) paid through Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). These monthly payments can be used to help ensure you have what you need.
Medical coverage at the state and federal level do not cover service animals. The average service animal costs between $15,000-$30,000 to adopt. So if you’re on a restricted income, what can you do? Well, great news! There are numerous nonprofit organizations that raise, train, and offer service animals for reduced costs or even free of charge. Additionally, while Medicare benefits won’t pay for the obtaining, feeding, or care for the animal, disability benefits may be able to help cover this additional cost. Other necessities, such as support canes, may also be covered by these disability benefits.
Are you covered?
Are you looking for an insurance plan that provides benefits specific to you? Our agents can explain your coverage options and help you find a plan that best fits your needs and budget. If you are interested in arranging a no-cost, no-obligation appointment with an agent, complete this form or give us a call today at 833-438-3676.