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Financing Strategies to Address the Social Determinants of Health in Medicaid

The social determinants of health (SDOH)—the conditions in the places where people live, learn, work, and play—are among the most influential factors affecting the health of individuals. Examples include a person’s economic stability, access to education, and housing. Medicaid beneficiaries often experience challenges related to SDOH, such as housing instability and food insecurity.

This issue brief describes the extent to which Medicaid beneficiaries experience certain social risk factors that affect health. It also discusses the primary mechanisms—state plan benefits, contracts with managed care plans, and waivers and grants—that state Medicaid programs can use to deliver and finance SDOH interventions, as well as the statutory and regulatory limits on such activities.