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February 13, 2020

Homeless Special Needs Plans for People Experiencing Homelessness

Author Affiliations
  • 1CareMore and Aspire Health, Cerritos, California
  • 2Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California
  • 3LA Care, Los Angeles, California
  • 4SNP Alliance, Washington, DC
  • 5Boston Healthcare for the Homeless, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 6Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston
JAMA. Published online February 13, 2020. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.22376

The US Census Bureau estimated that in 2018, more than 550 000 individuals experienced homelessness on any given day.1 Homelessness is both a recognized cause and a result of health problems. There has been a movement over the past several years to include housing as a health care intervention by several key cities and municipalities, notably, San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles. Although these programs have had some success with small populations of patients, their reliance on city budgets raises questions about scalability. The creation of a homelessness-focused special needs plan, a type of Medicare Advantage insurance plan aimed at meeting the unique care needs of specific high-need populations, may be an approach through which to sustainably finance health care delivery for homeless individuals.

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