Primary Care

Project Title

Medicaid’s Role in Addressing Social Determinants of Health: A Road Map for States

Grant Amount


Priority Area

Primary Care

Date Awarded

October 26, 2015







Increasingly, states are looking for ways to tackle the social issues that can directly affect the health of Medicaid beneficiaries, who are often the costliest and most complex patients.

Research continues to show that nonmedical determinants, such as unstable housing, unemployment, violence, and environmental pollution, have a negative impact on health, especially for the most vulnerable. Although State interest in responding to these issues is strong, policymakers lack practical, actionable information on when and how Medicaid can play a role. In 2015, NYHealth supported Milbank Memorial Fund to produce an issue brief that provides State officials with practical guidance on how Medicaid can be used to address social determinants of health.

Under this grant, Milbank, in conjunction with Manatt Health Solutions, developed an issue brief on how Medicaid can be used to address the social issues that directly affect the health of beneficiaries, including housing, social supports, and connections to work. The brief reviewed the Medicaid statute, regulations, and subregulatory guidance on when nonmedical services can be provided under a Medicaid state plan amendment, waiver, or through managed care contracting and other alternative payment options. It also included information on when Medicaid can be used to address the social determinants of health, as well as other strategies to cover costs of nonmedical social services. The brief was shared with State officials and other stakeholders.

Read the issue brief: “Medicaid Coverage of Social Interventions: A Road Map for States.”