Benefits of Medicaid Expansion for Job Seekers’ Health and Well-being

Benefits of Medicaid Expansion on Job Seekers’ Health and Well-being

A recent Benefits of Medicaid Expansion study conducted by the University of Michigan reveals that expanding Medicaid coverage to low-income adults resulted in improved health outcomes and better job performance or job search experiences within just one year. The research highlights the significant benefits observed, particularly for individuals with behavioral health conditions such as mental health disorders, including depression or substance abuse. Given the ongoing changes and expansions in Medicaid eligibility across states, those with behavioral health conditions stand to gain or lose the most from these reforms.

Study Methodology and Key Findings on the Benefits of Medicaid Expansion:

The Benefits of Medicaid Expansion study, published in the journal Psychiatric Services, involved surveying a representative sample of over 4,000 adults at or near the poverty level who had been enrolled in Michigan’s Medicaid expansion program, the Healthy Michigan Plan, for at least one year. Among the participants, half had at least one behavioral health condition.

Enrollees with behavioral health conditions were more likely to have chronic physical illnesses, overall poor health, lower incomes, and higher unemployment rates compared to those without such conditions.

Improvements in Health and Work are a Benefits of Medicaid Expansion:

When assessing the respondents’ health and employment outcomes since enrolling in the Healthy Michigan Plan, both groups reported significant improvements, with greater gains observed among individuals with behavioral health conditions.

For example, 51% of those with behavioral health conditions reported improvement in their physical health, and 45% experienced improved mental health within the first year of coverage. In comparison, 45% and 32% of individuals without behavioral health conditions reported similar improvements.

These findings are particularly encouraging since behavioral health conditions can impact individuals’ ability to maintain physical health. Moreover, these conditions can affect work performance and job retention. Consequently, the researchers focused on evaluating the impact of Medicaid coverage on employment outcomes.

Among employed individuals, 76% with behavioral health conditions reported that Medicaid coverage enhanced their job performance, compared to 64% of those without mental health conditions.

Those who reported improved health, regardless of their behavioral health status, were more likely to report improved job performance and are benefits of Medicaid Expansion.

Participants with behavioral health conditions indicated fewer days of work missed compared to the previous year. However, both groups reported similar experiences in terms of Medicaid coverage helping them find employment or secure better job opportunities.

Notably, individuals with behavioral health conditions were four times more likely than those without such conditions to state their inability to work.

Implications for Medicaid Policy:

The study’s findings hold implications for Medicaid policy, particularly concerning individuals with behavioral health conditions.

States must establish effective methods to identify enrollees with behavioral health conditions, particularly when implementing work requirements. Given the fluctuating needs of individuals with these conditions, losing Medicaid coverage could result in limited access to crucial healthcare services that support their well-being.

In Michigan, for instance, participants of the Healthy Michigan Plan must report their participation in employment, education, training, or other community engagement activities monthly. The policy provides exemptions for individuals deemed medically frail, including those with chronic substance use disorders.

However, those who do not qualify for exemptions risk losing their Medicaid coverage, which in turn jeopardizes their access to necessary medications and healthcare services for managing their conditions.

The study emphasizes the positive impact of Medicaid expansion on the health and well-being of job seekers. Notably, individuals with behavioral health conditions experienced significant improvements, although their vulnerability and ongoing support remain critical. As behavioral health conditions affect a significant portion of society, it is essential to prioritize discussions and initiatives that address these challenges, irrespective of age, race, or gender. By recognizing the impact of behavioral health on quality of life and work, we can better support individuals in leading healthier and more productive lives.

Learn more about the Benefits of Medicaid Expansion while searching STEM Jobs at

Related Articles