Forum Session

Medicaid Payment for Housing-Related Services: Building on Early Experiences
February 26, 2016


Jennifer Jenson, MPH, MPP


Stable housing and community living are important determinants of health and well-being for populations with chronic health care needs, including persons with disabilities, older adults who need long-term services and supports, and those experiencing homelessness. Although Medicaid may not be used to pay for room and board in home and community-based settings, states can seek reimbursement for services that help individuals transition to housing and maintain tenancy once there.

Last year, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published an informational bulletin to specify housing-related services that can be paid for under Medicaid. For example, to help with housing transitions, Medicaid can pay for services to assess an individual's housing needs; develop a housing support plan; and assist with housing search, application, and move-in processes. To maintain tenancy, Medicaid can pay for life skills training to help an individual pay rent on time, manage a household, and build community relationships. In addition, program funding can be used to support state-level collaboration between Medicaid and local partners, such as state and local housing and community development agencies.

CMS also noted demonstration project and program authorities that states may use to cover housing-related services, including the Money Follows the Person Rebalancing Demonstration, section 1115 research and demonstration programs, section 1905(a) coverage of targeted case management services, and several section 1915 waivers related to managed care and home and community-based care.

This Forum session considered CMS's policy guidance to facilitate Medicaid payment for housing support, and it featured how three states have used Medicaid to pay for housing-related services.


Michael R. Smith, MPA (bio)
Division of Community Systems Transformation
Disabled and Elderly Health Programs Group
Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

Michael P. Nardone, MPA (bio)
Disabled and Elderly Health Programs Group
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

Elizabeth Prince, MA, MFT (bio)
Project Director
MFP Roads to Community Living
Aging and Long- Term Support Administration
Washington State Department of Social and Health Services

Joe Finn, JD, MA (bio)
President and Executive Director
Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance

Robin Wagner, MSW (bio)
Deputy Assistant Secretary
Office of Aging and Adult Services
Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals

Related Materials

For additional information on the CMS guidance, see the agency's June 26, 2015, informational bulletin.

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