Health Insurance and Health Care Access Before and After SSDI Entry
This report uses National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) data linked to data from the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Medicare programs to create profiles of SSDI beneficiaries during the three years before and after SSDI entry to illustrate changes in insurance status, health care access, and utilization. SSDI beneficiaries were less likely to be insured, even three years prior to SSDI entry, and utilization and access problems peaked right before and after entry. At the time their SSDI applications were approved, 11 percent had completed the entire 24-month Medicare waiting period and about one-third had completed 12 months or more. Eliminating the Medicare waiting period could help many beneficiaries who lack health insurance. However, this policy alone would not help those who are uninsured before entry and approved a long time after SSDI entitlement.