December 19, 2022
The Bipartisan Policy Center's Health Program is building on its previous report, Improving Opportunities for Working People with Disabilities (January 2021), to address barriers to employment for Medicaid beneficiaries with disabilities who often rely on Medicaid's unique services, such as home and community-based services (HCBS), to live independently in the community and work.The Medicaid Buy-In (MBI) for Workers with Disabilities refers to three eligibility groups within Medicaid that allow states to cover working individuals with disabilities who, excluding earned income, generally meet Social Security's definition of disability. The MBI for Workers with Disabilities therefore allows individuals with disabilities to work and retain their Medicaid coverage, or to use their Medicaid coverage to access wraparound services that are not covered under employer-sponsored insurance or Medicare. Enrollment in the MBI for Workers with Disabilities eligibility groups is associated with increased employment and earnings, while also having a positive impact on the economy, state Medicaid agencies, employers, and state and federal governments.In this report, BPC identifies federal policy reforms that will encourage more states to cover or optimize their coverage of the MBI for Workers with Disabilities eligibility groups. These reforms will improve access to the MBI for Workers with Disabilities programs and, thus, allow more Medicaid beneficiaries with disabilities to work and achieve their employment potential. More specifically, BPC has identified a set of federal policy recommendations that Congress and the administration should advance. These federal policy reforms will clarify existing flexibilities that states can adopt when designing their MBI for Workers with Disabilities programs while also strengthening outreach, data, and interagency coordination.