Medicare and Medicaid
Individuals who are on Social Security Disability or SSI may also qualify for the government health insurance programs. As with disability, income and resources determine which programs apply. If the patient is on SSD, then he or she may apply for Medicare after two years. This is a big hole in the system since an employer only has to allow continuation of private health insurance under COBRA for 18 months.
In contrast, the individual who has SSI, with or without SSD, probably qualifies for Medicaid immediately. Although most people think of Medicaid as a program for poor women and children, more than three quarters of all Medicaid benefits go to the disabled.