Before the Affordable Care Act, people with disabilities had trouble buying private insurance. In 2014, private health insurance marketplaces opened in each state. Now people with pre-existing conditions could purchase private health insurance. Some people also qualified for a subsidy or a tax credit to help them purchase insurance. This report compares how the enrollment process, insurance costs, and coverage available for people with disabilities may have been different from others who enrolled in the marketplaces.
During the first enrollment (2014), the number of people with and without disabilities who enrolled was about the same. By 2016, people with disabilities were nearly twice as likely to be enrolled in marketplace plans (11.7%) as people without disabilities (6.7%).
Although more than half of people with disabilities said they had worked in the past year, they tended to be from lower-earning families than those without disabilities. Despite having less income, many people with disabilities said that they had spent more than five thousand dollars on healthcare in the past year. They also reported more hospital stays, home care use, and doctor's visits.
The study shows that access to private health insurance for people with disabilities is still an issue. It is important that an effort be made to be sure that the marketplace provides insurance coverage for people with disabilities that matches their healthcare needs.