Medicaid Buy-In is a Great Option! Work More, Keep Your Benefits!

Employers Stereotype People with Disabilities! Help debunk these myths.

MYTH: Employees with disabilities have a higher absentee rate than employees without disabilities. 
FACT: Studies by firms such as DuPont show that employees with disabilities are not absent any more than employees without disabilities.

MYTH: Considerable expense is necessary to accommodate workers with disabilities. 
FACT: 20% of accommodations cost nothing. 70% of workers with disabilities require no accommodations at all. Nationally, the average cost of an accommodation is $35.

That bright line of eligibility has haunted the disability working world for far too long. The story is well known: A person with a disability or chronic condition relies on Medicaid for health care and is faced with a welcome job opportunity; maybe a job offer, maybe going from part-time to full-time, maybe just earning a merit raise.

Sounds good, right?
Yet the risk is scary. You cross the invisible line, making too much money to be eligible for Medicaid and not enough to afford private insurance, meanwhile medical and prescription bills pile up as living with a disability doesn’t come cheap. In short, the job opportunity is welcome but it comes with the disincentive of losing critical health benefits.

But wait...
Medicaid Buy-In beckons “Go to work. Keep Medicaid. It’s a new day!”

Few people are aware that the State of Texas authorized Medicaid Buy-In back in 2005, modernizing the employment services system for people with disabilities. In other words, Texans with disabilities are no longer forced to choose between taking a job and having health care. Medicaid Buy-In allows people of any age who have a disability and are working to receive Medicaid by paying a small monthly premium ($20-$40/month) based on earned income. The premiums for unearned income can be higher, depending on the amount of unearned income.

Why do we hear so little about Medicaid Buy-In? Texas just received the Medicaid Infrastructure Grant. One of the major objectives of that grant is to increase enrollment in the Medicaid Buy-In program to assist people with disabilities as they pursue or maintain employment. We can help with spreading this great news to the disability community.

Those transitioning from high school should especially check this out. The next generation has significant earning potential through Medicaid Buy-In, no longer haunted by that magic number constantly reminding them of how little they must earn to keep their benefits.

Now that we have incentive to move up the career ladder and pursue our dreams, what does Medicaid Buy-In require of us? To be eligible for the Medicaid Buy-In program, you must have a disability (defined by Social Security Administration), a job (earned income), and must meet the financial eligibility requirements for the State of Texas. Those receiving waiver benefits like CBA, CLASS and HCS will soon be eligible. There’s some real encouragement in this program; for example resources set aside as your Plan to Achieve Self-Support (PASS) won’t affect your eligibility. It’s time to TAKE ACTION and find out the details for yourself. Click on http://www.hhsc.state.tx.us/MBI.html for information and email Elizabeth Gregowicz of DARS at Elizabeth.Gregowicz@dars.state.tx.us or Bridgette McEntire of HHSC atBridgette.McEntire@hhsc.state.tx.us.

Complete this survey to improve our State’s employment support services.

Texas is working, through a federal grant project called the Medicaid Infrastructure Grant (MIG), to improve employment support services for people with disabilities. As part of this effort, The University of Texas School of Social Work (UTSSW) is conducting an on-line consumer employment survey for persons with disabilities. The purpose of this survey is to examine gaps in existing employment support services for people with disabilities and to identify ways that the system might be improved to better meet the employment needs of people with disabilities. The survey should take about 10-15 minutes to complete. Your participation in this survey is completely voluntary. All responses are confidential and no identifying information will be collected as part of the survey.

You may complete the survey in either English or Spanish. The links below will take you to a cover letter for the survey. In the cover letter you will find links to the survey along with a password that will allow you to access the survey.

English version: http://webspace.utexas.edu/streeter/www/cvrltrENG.doc
Spanish version: http://webspace.utexas.edu/streeter/www/cvrltrSPA.doc