Panel Paper: Levels of Employment and Community Engagement Among Medicaid-Eligible Adults: Implications for Work Requirements

Thursday, November 7, 2019
I.M Pei Tower: Terrace Level, Terrace (Sheraton Denver Downtown)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Aparna Soni1, Cong Gian2, Kosali Simon2 and Benjamin Sommers3, (1)American University, (2)Indiana University, (3)Harvard University

Several states are implementing community engagement requirements (“work requirements”) in Medicaid, though legal challenges remain. While most low-income individuals work, it is less clear how many engage in the required number of hours of qualified community engagement activities, and what heterogeneity may exist by race/ethnicity, age, and gender. We analyzed national time-use survey data from the U.S. Census to estimate current levels of employment and other community engagement activities among potential Medicaid beneficiaries. We found that low-income adults who might become subject to Medicaid work requirements already spent an average of 29 hours per week on work, volunteering, education, and caregiving for the elderly/disabled. However, 49 percent of our low-income sample – particularly women, older adults, and those with less education – would not currently satisfy a 20-hour-per week requirement and could therefore be at risk for losing coverage.