Expanded Medicaid coverage helps disabled

The percentage of people with disabilities who are employed increased to 47 percent from 41.3 percent in states with expanded Medicaid coverage while staying relatively constant in non-expansion states, according to new research.

Not only does this finding translate to greater opportunity and quality of life for people with disabilities, it could have cost-saving policy implications as non-expansion states consider whether to include work requirements along with expansion, according to the new study “Medicaid Expansion as an Employment Incentive Program for People With Disabilities,” published last month in the American Journal of Public Health.

Prior to the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), one had to meet income requirements and be a child, pregnant woman, disabled, a senior or parent to a child in the program to qualify for Medicaid.

The ACA allowed states to expand Medicaid coverage to anyone with an income up to 138 percent of the poverty level. Expansion is largely federally funded and was originally mandatory. However, a U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2012 allowed states to choose whether to expand coverage.

Currently, 33 states and the District of Columbia have expanded Medicaid coverage. Three states — Idaho, Nebraska and Utah — are considering expansion either through ballot initiatives or legislation.

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