This year, several states applied for and received permission from the federal government to implement work requirements in their Medicaid programs. Policy designs vary by state, but all states build in considerations for people with disabilities. These considerations include exemptions and exceptions from work requirements for individuals unable to work due to a disability.
Due to the nature of disability and the nature of disability determination processes, states will face limitations in identifying all individuals who are unable to work due to a disability. Medical claims do not necessarily provide enough information to determine a person’s ability to work. Medical diagnoses and disability determinations both can lag symptoms by months or years. As a result, relying on claims or disability determination data could leave out individuals who are unable to work due to a disability. At the same time, waiting for a diagnosis or a disability determination is a critical time period for individuals with disabilities to be able to access health care.
Rachel Gershon — Senior Associate at the Center for Health Law and Economics at UMass Medical School — discusses the nature of disability and disability determination; the resulting limitations in data availability; and implications for public policy.
Rachel Gershon is a Senior Associate at the Center for Health Law and Economics at UMass Medical School where she performs legal and policy analysis regarding Medicaid, health reform, and social services. Specific areas of work include health care affordability, Accountable Care Organizations, long-term supports and services, housing supports, language access, and consumer protections.
Gershon brings experience advising and representing individuals who receive public benefits, including Medicaid, Medicare, prescription assistance, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and Social Security. While in law school, she worked on Medicaid access issues with the AARP Foundation as a Herbert Semmel Elder Law Fellow. Gershon holds a law degree and a master's degree in public health from Harvard University, and a bachelor's degree in psychology from Whitworth University.
The Digital Health @ Harvard series features speakers from Harvard as well as collaborators and colleagues from other institutions who research the intersection between health and digital technology. The series is co-sponsored by the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University and the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School. The goal of the series is to discuss ongoing research in this research area, share new developments, identify opportunities for collaboration, and explore the digital health ecosystem more generally.