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Elimination of Medicare's Waiting Period for Seriously Disabled Adults: Impact on Coverage and Costs

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Over 1.2 million seriously disabled Americans under age 65—including as many as 400,000 without health insurance—are currently in the two-year waiting period for Medicare coverage, according to a new report from The Commonwealth Fund. Eliminating this two-year waiting period would provide stable health insurance to a vulnerable group of adults who are unable to work. Some disabled adults in the waiting period qualify for state Medicaid programs. The report finds that dropping the two-year Medicare wait would save cash-strapped states an estimated $1.8 billion a year in Medicaid costs.

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Publication Date: July 1, 2003
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Elimination of Medicare's Waiting Period for Seriously Disabled Adults: Impact on Coverage and Costs, Stacy Berg Dale and James M. Verdier, The Commonwealth Fund, July 2003

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Health Researcher, Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.
Senior Fellow, Mathematica Policy Research