Access to care among children with disabilities enrolled in the MassHealth CommonHealth Buy-In program


Children with disabilities utilize more health-care services and incur higher costs than other children do. Medicaid Buy-In programs for children with disabilities have the potential to increase access to benefits while reducing out-of-pocket costs for families whose income exceeds Medicaid eligibility. This study sought to understand how parents and caregivers of Massachusetts children with disabilities perceive access to care under CommonHealth, Massachusetts’s Medicaid Buy-In program. Parents and caregivers (n = 615) whose children were enrolled in CommonHealth participated in a survey assessing the impact of the program. Qualitative data were coded across five access domains—availability, accessibility, accommodation, affordability, and acceptability. Data suggest that CommonHealth improves access to care for children with disabilities by providing the benefits that were limited in scope or unavailable through other insurance before enrollment and by making available services more affordable. Policy and administrative changes could improve the program and further increase access to care for children with complex, costly conditions. Adopting a Medicaid Buy-In program may be an effective way for states to create a pathway to Medicaid for children with disabilities whose family income is too high for Medicaid and who have unmet needs and/or whose families incur high out-of-pocket costs for their care.

Publication Title

Journal of Child Health Care