If you have a disability, your health plan must remove most physical or communication barriers that make it hard for you to get the care you need. Call your health plan and be firm about what you need.
Use the OPA worksheets on physical access and communication assistance to list the access or services you need.
Topics on this page:
- What are my rights?
- Common examples of assistance or access
- Ask your doctor to be your advocate
- If you cannot get the care you need
- Medical equipment
- When you apply for health insurance
What are my rights?
Your rights to access services in health care settings are protected by the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Learn more about ADA regarding physical access and communication assistance.
Common examples of assistance or access
Do not hesitate to ask for something even if it is not on this list.
- Providers with offices you can get to in a wheelchair.
- Exam tables and other medical equipment you can use if you have a mobility problem.
- Your service animal in the exam room with you.
- Important information, such as consent forms and treatment directions, in a format that you
can use if you are blind or vision-impaired.
- A sign language interpreter, if you are deaf or hard-of-hearing.
Use the worksheets on physical access and communication assistance to list the access or services you need.
Ask your doctor to be your advocate
You or your doctor may ask for changes in the way services are offered if the usual way does not work for you. For example, you may need a routine procedure done in a hospital rather than a clinic. Your plan must pay for these services if there are medical reasons why you need them.
If you cannot get the care you need
Your plan should help you find accessible providers. Your plan must pay for these providers, even if they are not in the plan’s network. If your plan refuses, you can file a complaint.
Before you join a plan, ask if it covers the equipment you need and what your costs would be. Ask if there is a limit on what the plan will pay in a year.
When you apply for health insurance
A group plan cannot refuse to cover you, or charge you more, if you have a disability. Until 2014, an individual plan may refuse to insure an adult based on that adult's health history. After 2014, no health plan may deny coverage due to a pre-existing condition. Learn more about health care reform...
OPA worksheet: Physical Access
OPA worksheet: Communications Assistance
U.S. Department of Justice ADA webpage - www.ada.gov
Information about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
AT Network - www.atnet.org
1-800-390-2699, 1-800-900-0706 (TTY)
Information on equipment and assistive technology for people with disabilities
California Foundation for Independent Living Centers - www.cfilc.org
Resources for people with disabilities
Disability Rights California - www.disabilityrightsca.org
Choosing a Doctor
Talking with Your Doctor
Choosing a Treatment
Referrals and Pre-Approvals