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Medicaid Provides Health Coverage to Millions of Working Men and Women

Most Medicaid beneficiaries are employed or are in households where someone is working. In 2013, 79% of children who were Medicaid beneficiaries lived with at least one worker; 65% lived with at least one full-time worker. That year, 65% of adults with Medicaid were in a family with a worker; half were in a family with at least one full-time worker. Adults who qualify for Medicaid may be working but earning low wages and may not be able to afford private coverage. With Medicaid, such workers have health coverage and are likely to have a usual source of care, which helps them stay healthy and remain productive on the job.

A 2012 study by the Economic Policy Institute looked at where low-wage workers were employed in 2010. The industries with the largest shares of workers earning less than $23,000 a year, the poverty level for a family of four in 2010, were as follows: 73.6% of food preparation/service workers; 56.9% of personal care/support workers; 53.7% of building maintenance workers; 44.8% of health support workers; 41.9% of sales workers; 34.3% of transportation workers; 27.5% of production workers; 24.5% of protective services workers; and 24.4% of office/administrative workers. Only 31.5% of low-wage workers lived in households with incomes greater than $50,000 per year, indicating that most low-wage workers are not likely to be teenagers with after-school or summer jobs.

Source: 2012 study by the Economic Policy Institute

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