Medicaid home and community-based services (HCBS) play a crucial role in keeping people with disabilities and older adults safe at home, in their communities, and out of institutional settings. Robust HCBS services promote better health outcomes, improve patients’ social and emotional lives, and are often more economically efficient than institutional facilities.
Recently, legislation in the state of Oklahoma imposed a requirement that people with intellectual disabilities live in the state for five years before they could access Medicaid HCBS. In addition to being bad policy, residence requirements like these violate the Medicaid Act and the U.S. Constitution.
In response to a letter from NHeLP, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) acknowledged these legal protections and stated that a 5-year waiting period for Medicaid HCBS was not permitted. This is a victory of Oklahomans with intellectual disabilities and their families, as well as all Medicaid beneficiaries who rely on CMS to protect their rights.
Founded in 1969, The National Health Law Program (NHeLP) protects and advances the health rights of low-income and underserved individuals. NHeLP strongly supports policies and legislation that ensure coverage of HCBS services and safeguard eligibility requirements.