Academic journal article Health Care Financing Review

Grants Help Employed People with Disabilities Keep Health Insurance

Academic journal article Health Care Financing Review

Grants Help Employed People with Disabilities Keep Health Insurance

Article excerpt

The RWJF, working in cooperation with three States, recently announced three new grants that allow people with disabilities who are currently covered by Medicare or Medicaid to obtain employment without fear of losing their health insurance. The action by the three States--Oregon, Wisconsin, and Vermont--will improve the chances for people with disabilities to find and keep employment.

Several studies have shown that concern over losing Medicaid or Medicare eligibility is a major disincentive to people with disabilities seeking work. "These projects are providing national leadership that will pave the way for people with disabilities to return to work without the fear of losing health insurance coverage," says Rosemary Gibson, senior program officer at the RWJF.

The grants will be funded under t "Building Health Systems for People with Chronic Illness," a national program of the RWJF, directed by E Marc LaForce, M.D. The potential benefits to participants include better health outcomes, increased independence, and enhanced satisfaction with life. The projects are also expected to result in decreased public expenditures for government, as the participants become taxpaying citizens.

"People with disabilities perceive the potential loss of essential health care benefits as the main barrier to obtaining employment, after their disability itself," says LaForce, chief of medicine at Genesee Hospital in Rochester, New York. …

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