Have Working-Age Persons with Disabilities Share in the Gains of Massachusetts Health Reform

Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Cover of Inquiry journal
John Gettens, PhD
University of Massachusetts Medical School
Monika Mitra, PhD
Brandeis University
Alexis Henry, ScD, OTR/L
Commonwealth Medicine

The Massachusetts health reform, implemented in 2006 and 2007, reduced the uninsurance rate for working-age people with disabilities by nearly half. Enrollment in Medicaid and subsidized insurance accounted for most of the gain in insurance coverage. The reduction in uninsurance was greatest among younger adults. The reform also reduced cost-related problems obtaining care; however, cost remains an obstacle, particularly among young adults with disabilities. The Massachusetts outcomes demonstrate that insurance subsidies, Medicaid expansions for low-income adults, individual insurance mandates, and enrollment initiatives can lead to substantial reductions in uninsurance and cost-related problems obtaining care among working-age people with disabilities.