Assessing policies designed to ensure more than 2 million disabled adults gain health insurance coverage (USA)

The potential employment impact of Health Reform on working-age adults with disabilities

From Journal of Disability Policy Studies

Public health insurance is a valued benefit for many working-age individuals with disabilities who would otherwise have difficulty obtaining health insurance in the private market. This article assesses the extent to which the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010 has the potential to expand health insurance options for workers with disabilities and ameliorate existing employment disincentives. The study suggests the impact of the ACA on employment outcomes for persons with disabilities is a critical area for future research. At a minimum, it is expected for the ACA to result in patterns of insurance coverage among persons with disabilities that look more similar to patterns of insurance coverage among working-age persons without disabilities.  Nationally, in 2009, employed working-age people with disabilities were less likely to have insurance coverage than those who were  unemployed. It is projected that this relationship will change in 2014. More than 2 million adults with disabilities will gain coverage and that coverage rates will be higher among the employed.

 

Abstract

Programs serving people with disabilities create employment disincentives in the form of public health insurance that ties eligibility to an inability to work. In 2009, insurance coverage decreased with employment for working-age people with disabilities. Health reform has the potential to ameliorate these employment disincentives by reforming the private health insurance system and by severing the link between eligibility for public health insurance and an inability to work. The authors predict the impact of the Affordable Care Act on working-age adults with disabilities using a simulation model based on 2009 American Community Survey data from Massachusetts, which enacted a similar reform in 2006. They estimate that more than 2 million adults with disabilities will gain coverage and that coverage rates will be higher among the employed. Although health reform may remove some existing employment disincentives, implementation issues are key determinants to insurance and employment outcomes.

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Article details
Alice R. Levy, PhD alevy@gwmail.gwu.edu, Brian K. Bruen, MS, & Leighton C. Ku, PhD (2012). The Potential Employment Impact of Health Reform on Working-Age Adults With Disabilities Journal of Disability Policy Studies : 10.1177/1044207312446225
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