Housing As A Health-Related Social Need: Lessons From North Carolina’s Healthy Opportunities Pilot

In recent years, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has opened the door for states to use Medicaid funding to cover an array of services that support people in getting and keeping housing, from case management services and navigation help to identify housing options to coverage of up to six months of rent as a bridge to long-term housing subsidies such as Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) vouchers. These efforts are part of a broader initiative to advance the use of Medicaid funds to address a wide array of health-related social needs, underscored by CMS’s November 2023 release of guidance and a framework describing allowable services and supports.

Among the states leading the way in this work is North Carolina. And other states interested in learning from its experience might start by reading an important new article in the February 2024 issue of Health Affairs: “Addressing Housing-Related Social Needs Through Medicaid: Lessons From North Carolina’s Healthy Opportunities Pilots Program.” Authors Katie Huber and colleagues highlight how the housing-related social needs (HRSN) concept works on the ground outside of written policies and guidance. Findings from the article provide new evidence about the impact of these services on health and well-being, alongside critical takeaways about what works and, equally important, what doesn’t work when implementing HRSN services in Medicaid. This analysis can provide unique insight that contributes to the evolution of HRSN policies at the federal and state level.

Read more in Health Affairs Magazine