Medicaid Authorities and Options to Address Social Determinants of Health (SDOH)
Extensive research and the pandemic have elevated the importance of addressing social determinants of health (SDOH) to improve health and reduce longstanding disparities in health and health care. Social determinants of health include factors like socioeconomic status, education, neighborhood and physical environment, employment, and social support networks, as well as access to health care. This brief describes options and federal Medicaid authorities states may use to address enrollees’ social determinants of health and provides state examples, including initiatives launched in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The focus of this brief is on state-driven Medicaid efforts to address social determinants for nonelderly enrollees who do not meet functional status or health need criteria for home and community-based services (HCBS) programs.