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A Navigator’s Guide to Different Disabilities and Their Activity Limitations

people with disability

By understanding how certain impairments can limit a person’s ability to participate in activities related to healthcare insurance selection, navigators will be better able to help people with disabilities select the insurance coverage that best meets their individual needs. This will involve looking into the accommodations that may need to be made so that people with disabilities can participate in the health insurance selection process.

Here are some activity limitations linked with specific impairments and conditions and why understanding them matters:

1. A person with arthritis may struggle to perform everyday tasks like walking, bending, or lifting.

The person needing specialised care may need physical access to a facility. This person may be undergoing physical therapy or seeing a specialist, such as a rheumatologist, and thus require insurance coverage that covers their current or equivalent providers. Additionally, they may need access to affordable physical therapy regularly. To aid in mobility, they may require a device such as a walker or a wheelchair, thus necessitating access to a durable medical equipment supplier that can provide the device and any follow-up services that may be necessary.

2. A person with diabetes or multiple sclerosis may experience difficulties with sight or movement.

To access the navigator’s services, a person may need certain accommodations. This could include access to the facility, alternative print materials such as digital or large print, and the ability to compare and evaluate various plans to determine if their desired providers are included in the network.

3. A person with cognitive or intellectual disabilities may struggle to understand, recall, and/or express ideas and information.

Navigators should provide individuals with clear and understandable information regarding health insurance options. If the individual with a cognitive disability or developmental disability is accompanied by someone, the navigator should provide that person with the information, but only if they have been given the go-ahead. People with chronic conditions might need ongoing treatment and care coordination from multiple providers, so the navigator should also help them to figure out if the plans they are considering include these providers.

4. A person with a neurological disorder like muscular dystrophy may experience difficulties getting around, doing daily activities, and/or communicating.

This person may need special assistance due to their disability and need to consider insurance options that provide access to suppliers specialising in mobility equipment and services such as physical, occupational, and speech therapy. Navigators should be aware that some benchmark plans may not include all the essential health benefits required by the ACA, such as habilitation, and may also include annual benefit limits on durable medical equipment, even though the ACA prohibits such limits. Navigators should advise consumers to carefully review and compare the type and scope of benefits offered by their insurance plans.


Understanding disability and its activity limitations is essential to supporting people with disabilities. By understanding the different types of disabilities, the impact disability has on an individual’s ability to participate in activities, and the factors that may contribute to activity limitations, navigators can develop more effective strategies to assist individuals with disabilities. Navigators can provide better services and support to individuals with disabilities and ultimately help improve their quality of life.

OSAN ABILITY is a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) registered provider based in Sydney, specialising in disability support, disability accommodation (SDA, short term, medium term), community participation, domestic assistance, allied health, and in-home aged care. If you or your loved one needs disability services in Sydney, we can help. Get in touch with us today.

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