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Key Findings Details

Disability Insurance and Healthcare Reform: Evidence from Massachusetts
by Nicole Maestas, Kathleen Mullen and Alexander Strand
WP 2013-289
  • We find that the MA health insurance reform in 2006-07 initially increased applications slightly for SSDI in MA relative to neighboring states, although the difference in application rates disappeared by late 2008.
  • Counties with low pre-reform health insurance coverage rates experienced net decreases in total SSDI and SSI applications, whereas counties with high pre-reform health insurance coverage rates experienced net increases in SSDI and SSI applications relative to neighboring states.
  • New SSDI applications in high insurance counties came from the newly unemployed, whereas the new SSDI applications in low insurance counties came from the long term unemployed/disabled.
  • Since MA had higher health insurance coverage rates than the rest of the U.S. prior to the reform, this may point to a potential decrease in SSDI and SSI applications in the coming years, with a shift (at least initially) in the composition of new applications toward the SSDI program, as provisions of the Affordable Care Act go into effect.