“Individuals with disabilities are significantly more likely to be employed in states that have expanded Medicaid coverage as part of the Affordable Care Act, new research from the University of Kansas has found. Similarly, individuals who report not working because of a disability have significantly declined in expansion states, while neither trend happened in states that chose not to expand Medicaid.
The trends have broad policy implications as many states are considering work requirements for Medicaid eligibility, and they also have the potential to show similar employment benefits for individuals without disabilities. “In effect, Medicaid expansion is acting as an employment incentive for people with disabilities,” the researchers wrote.
Individuals with disabilities were often confined to lives of poverty and/or unemployment to qualify for Medicaid, as those whose earnings were too high were deemed ineligible. Yet those who surpassed income limitations were still often unable to afford health insurance on their own. In nonexpansion states, most adults with disabilities are required to apply for Supplemental Security Income and undergo a disability determination to affirm they cannot substantially work to be eligible for Medicaid. The researchers postulate that the incentive for employment could expand to individuals without disabilities as well. For example, a childless adult with a chronic illness cannot apply for Medicaid in nonexpansion states. In expansion states, they would be able to do so and move from having no health insurance to being covered by Medicaid.”
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