For this week of Thanksgiving, we at AAHD are giving thanks for coverage as having adequate health care coverage can bring peace of mind for people with disabilities as they face potential uncertainty with their health, especially during this year’s pandemic. In the past, we have taken a look at What ACA Coverage Means for People with Disabilities and last spring we did a series of blog posts leading up to the 10 year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and highlighting the benefits of the ACA.
Since we are in the middle of Open Enrollment, we want to take a look at some important statistics as it relates to disability and health care coverage. Some of these statistics are as follows:
- People with disabilities generally have more health issues than those who do not have a disability. For instance, people with disabilities are:
- Over 30% more likely to be obese
- 60% more likely to smoke
- Over 2.5 times more likely to develop diabetes
- Over 3.5 times more likely to have cardiovascular disease (18-44 y.o.) and just under 3 times more likely to have cardiovascular disease (45-64 y.o.)
- Additionally, people with disabilities are likely to have issues as it relates to social determinants of health as they:
- Have double the unemployment rate among those within the workforce
- Are about 35% more likely to have less than a high school education
- Are less likely to report sufficient social & emotional support
- Without health coverage, people often forgo regular doctor’s appointments, don’t take necessary prescription medication, and delay care, resulting in emergency room visits and inpatient hospital stays that are expensive and often avoidable. Compounding this issue is the fact that people with a disability are over twice as likely to not see a doctor due to cost.
- People who were uninsured in 2013 and gained either marketplace or Medicaid coverage in 2014 were more likely than their counterparts who remained uninsured to report having a usual source of care, receiving an annual checkup, and getting a blood pressure screening.
- The ACA has improved access to health care services for those who gained coverage through its coverage expansions. Research focusing on the first two years of the ACA’s Medicaid expansion found improvements in various measures of access to care, including affording needed follow-up care, having a personal doctor, and having access to medications.
- Nearly 1 in 5 Americans are covered by Medicaid and 1 out of 3 children receive coverage through Medicaid or CHIP.
- The research shows that the employment rate for individuals with disabilities who were living in expansion states increased from 41.3% in 2013 right before the Medicaid expansion to 47% in 2017. Unemployment rates also dropped from 32% in 2013 to 27% in 2017.
- People with disabilities historically have experienced difficulty purchasing healthcare insurance in the individual commercial market because some insurers would not provide coverage for people with pre-existing conditions and also because policies could be prohibitively expensive. In fact, an estimated 3.5 million people with disabilities did not have health insurance when the Affordable Care Act was enacted in 2010.
* Health disparities statistics cited are from Krahn, et.al. (2015). Persons with Disabilities as an Unrecognized Health Disparity Population. American Journal of Public Health.