Article and Policy Forum Examine Medicare, Health Reform and the Challenges Facing People With Disabilities

Wednesday, Sept. 8, the Foundation held a policy workshop examining Medicare, health reform and the challenges facing people with disabilities.

Younger Medicare beneficiaries with disabilities are much more likely than seniors in the program to report problems accessing and paying for needed medical services, Kaiser Family Foundation researchers report in this Health Affairs article.

Based on a national random-sample survey of people on Medicare, the study finds that half of nonelderly disabled beneficiaries report problems paying for health care in the previous 12 months — nearly three times the rate reported by seniors (50 percent compared with18 percent). Similarly, 46 percent of nonelderly beneficiaries with disabilities report delaying or not getting health care services because of cost, compared with 16 percent of seniors.

The survey finds that nearly one in three younger Medicare beneficiaries with disabilities report that they were uninsured for at least part of the two-year waiting period before qualifying for Medicare coverage. The recently enacted health reform law will provide new options for nonelderly people with disabilities who are awaiting Medicare eligibility to obtain coverage, through high-risk pools beginning this year, and other public and private plans beginning in 2014.

The article, “Medicare Doesn’t Work As Well For Younger, Disabled Beneficiaries As It Does For Older Enrollees,” was authored by the Foundation’s Juliette Cubanski and Tricia Neuman and published on Aug. 12, 2010.

On Sept. 8, 2010, the Foundation held a policy forum examining the health care issues facing people with disabilities and the opportunities and challenges presented by the new health care reform law enacted earlier this year. Juliette Cubanski, study co-author and associate director of the Foundation’s Medicare Policy Project, presented findings from the study, followed by a panel discussion with Jeffrey Crowley, senior advisor on disability policy at the White House; Joe Baker, president of the Medicare Rights Center; Elizabeth Priaulx, a senior disability legal specialist with the National Disability Rights Network. PBS NewsHour co-anchor Judy Woodruff will moderate the discussion, and Tricia Neuman, Foundation vice president and director of the Medicare Policy Project, will provide opening remarks.

Article (free access)


September 8, 2010, Forum Materials

Full Video


Agenda (.pdf)

Speaker Biographies (.pdf)

Neuman Presentation (.pdf)

Cubanski Presentation — Chartpack (.pdf)

Survey Toplines (.pdf)

Fact Sheet: Medicare and Nonelderly People With Disabilities

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