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State Variation of Eligibility in Medicaid Waivers for Disabled Populations

Year: 2023

Presenter Name: Sydney Kincart

Medicaid is the most important insurance program for individuals with disabilities as over 10 million people are eligible for Medicaid on the basis of their disability (People with disabilities). Waivers are an important policy tool, allowing states increased flexibility in their programs (National Association of Community Health Centers). The 1915(c) waiver allows states to offer home and community based services (HCBS) to certain groups of people instead of care provided in an institution (National Association of Community Health Centers). Utah has eight different HCBS waivers in place with eligibility ranging from aging to autism (Home and Community Based Services [HCBS] Waiver Programs). However, disability can be invisible, undocumented, and undiagnosed-leaving a vulnerable population without resources for assistance. Adding to the complication of disability and eligibility is the causality dilemma inherent for these individuals. Disability is one of the categorically required eligibility criteria for Medicaid, but individuals need to have a medical diagnosis of disability to be eligible for the program. Without previous access to healthcare, such a diagnosis is unlikely. Although someone may not meet Medicaid's eligibility criteria, they continue to face disablement through institutional barriers and lack the support that Medicaid would offer. To understand how states have leveraged waivers and their Medicaid programs to provide care for individuals with disabilities, our project analyzes all Medicaid 1915(c) waivers. In our analysis, we have cataloged the current policy landscape of Medicaid waivers related to disability, capturing data on who is eligible, what types of benefits are provided, and the types of disability identified by states. Our work highlights the patchwork nature of Medicaid coverage for individuals with disabilities and disparities in accessing and being eligible for this essential public program.
University / Institution: University of Utah
Type: Poster
Format: In Person
Presentation #C42
SESSION C (1:45-3:15PM)
Area of Research: Social Sciences
Faculty Mentor: