Before the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), many Americans with disabilities were locked into poverty to maintain eligibility for Medicaid coverage. US Medicaid expansion under the ACA allows individuals to qualify for coverage without first going through a disability determination process and declaring an inability to work to obtain Supplemental Security Income. Medicaid expansion coverage also allows for greater income and imposes no asset tests.
In this article, we share updates to our previous work documenting greater employment among people with disabilities living in Medicaid expansion states. Over time (2013–2017), the trends in employment among individuals with disabilities living in Medicaid expansion states have become significant, indicating a slow but steady progression toward employment for this group post-ACA.
In effect, Medicaid expansion coverage is acting as an employment incentive program for people with disabilities. These findings have broad policy implications in light of recent changes regarding imposition of work requirements for Medicaid programs.