Online Program

Asset building: One way the ACA can improve health and employment outcomes for people with disabilities

Monday, November 4, 2013 : 9:15 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.

Jean Hall, PhD, Institute for Health and Disability Policy Studies, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS
Noelle Kurth, MS, Institute for Health and Disability Policy Studies, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS
Allen Jensen, MA, School of Public Health and Health Services, Center for Health Policy Research, George Washington University, Washington, DC
Ellen Averett, PhD, Department of Health Policy and Management, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, KS
Working age individuals with disabilities are often forced to live in poverty to maintain Medicaid coverage. The Affordable Care Act may change this dynamic. The objective of this study was to determine the relationship between having assets in excess of usual Medicaid limits and the health and quality of life of Medicaid participants. Using self-reported survey data, we explored health and quality of life measures among a sample of Medicaid Buy-In participants ages 18 to 64. We looked for differences between groups with less than $2,000 in cash assets (the usual Medicaid limit) and with $2,000 or more, the higher asset group. Of the 441 who reported their asset levels, 15% had cash assets greater than $2,000. Participants with higher assets had significantly higher scores on measures of physical and mental health and quality of life. Respondents with intellectual disabilities were most likely to have higher assets (31%); people with physical disabilities were least likely (7%). Male participants were significantly more likely to have higher assets than females (23% vs 9%). Age was negatively correlated with assets, with younger individuals more likely to have higher assets. While many Buy-In programs allow participants to accumulate assets greater than $2,000, assets are still capped for most. Medicaid expansion under ACA does not limit asset levels in determining eligibility. Especially for younger individuals with disabilities and low income, coverage under the expansion might allow greater accumulation of assets and potentially better health and quality of life, while avoiding lifelong dependence on disability programs.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Discuss how ACA coverage expansions will allow people with disabilities to accumulate assets in excess of limits typically imposed by Medicaid Analyze which sub-groups are most likely to benefit

Keyword(s): Disability, Health Care Reform

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the principal investigator of multiple federally funded grants focusing on the health and employment of people with disabilities and/or chronic conditions. I am particularly interested in access to health care for this population.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.