Good news! TIME magazine explains how Americans with disabilities are getting the coverage they need!
In the TIME article, they found working adults with disabilities who had health insurance increased from 71.4% to 81.2%. Additionally, the US saw the uninsured level for this population drop from 17.1% to 9.3%. Medicaid (state-sponsored low-income help) coverage also grew for people with disabilities from 31.4% to 37.2%.
Although these stats are encouraging, the author Abigail Abrams says there’s a long way to go. Many adults with disabilities continue to struggle to keep consistent health coverage. This population is a staggering 54% more likely to be covered for only part of the year compared to adults without disabilities. From the study, this means that about 20% of the disabled population could not keep consistent annual health insurance.
Many Americans in this population are still recovering physically and economically from the pandemic. To stay safe, they were isolated from regular care and support systems which led to more severe cases. Additionally, entry-level jobs, which most disabled adults can participate in, were laid off and lost income.
Through Medicaid expansion and ACA (Affordable Care Act) requirements, more people have access to healthcare across the country. As of June 2021, a record 31 million Americans are covered under the ACA. The Medicaid expansion is helping to reduce racial disparities, assist in opioid and and tobacco addictions, and lower medical debt.
The American Rescue Plan act expanded subsidies for Americans making it more affordable, and opened an additional open enrollment period. Many people who were not eligible before, found health plans to meet their needs. Because of this, 66.8% of uninsured adults with disabilities have plans with no premiums. The decision to keep the subsidies permanently in place will be decided by Congress this year.
Overall, despite the pandemic, major steps are being taken to support Americans with disabilities. Covid-19 increased awareness and pain points, and now the Biden administration and Congress can have a more focused plan to support everyone in need.