The association between chronic disease and physical disability among female Medicaid beneficiaries 18-64 years of age

Amal J. Khoury, Allyson Hall, Elena Andresen, Jianyi Zhang, Rachel Ward, Chad Jarjoura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Background: Rates of physical disability are higher in women than in men, and economically disadvantaged women are at greater risk for physical disability than women with higher incomes. Chronic diseases increase the risk of physical disability, and people with physical disability experience some added risks of secondary conditions including chronic disease. Yet, little is known about the prevalence of chronic disease among women living with a physical disability who use Medicaid, a particularly disadvantaged population. Objective: This study described the prevalence of chronic disease among adult (18-64 years), female, Florida Medicaid beneficiaries living with a physical disability between 2001 and 2005. Methods: Using Medicaid eligibility and claims files, we extracted ICD-9 codes for physically-disabling conditions and Current Procedure Terminology codes for mobility-assistive devices to define three levels of physical disability. Results: Participants appeared to be at high risk for both physical disability and chronic diseases. Close to half of the women had been diagnosed with one or more physically-disabling conditions, and 5.3% used mobility devices. One-third of the women had hypertension and sizeable proportions had other chronic diseases. Women with physical disability were more likely to have co-morbid chronic diseases than their able-bodied counterparts. Discussion: Our findings support the need for improved chronic disease prevention among female Medicaid beneficiaries, particularly those with physical disability. Strategies to improve prevention, screening and treatment in this population may mitigate the trends toward higher physical disability rates in the low-income, working-age population and may prevent high Medicare and Medicaid costs in the long-run.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-148
Number of pages8
JournalDisability and Health Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Access to health care
  • Disability
  • Medicaid
  • Women's health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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