Study Finds Affordable Housing Reduces Healthcare Costs
A recent study, “Health in Housing: Exploring the Intersection Between Housing and Health Care,” conducted by researchers from the Center for Outcomes Research and Education (CORE) and in partnership with Enterprise Community Partners found that Medicaid-covered residents had fewer emergency department visits, used more primary care, and accumulated lower medical expenditures compared with the year before they moved into affordable housing.
The study looked at residents at 145 sites of three different types: family housing, permanent supportive housing (PSH), and housing for seniors and people with disabilities (SPD). In one of the most striking findings, they found that total Medicaid costs fell 12 percent after people moved into affordable housing. Declines were seen in all housing types, with the largest drops seen at SPD (16 percent) and PSH (14 percent) properties.
The savings in Medicare expenditures came from a reallocation of healthcare services that occurred after individuals moved into affordable housing. These individuals increased their use of primary care services by 20 percent, while emergency department (ED) use fell by 18 percent in the year after moving into affordable housing. Individuals in PSH experienced the most significant changes, increasing their primary care visits by 23 percent but decreasing their ED visits by 37 percent.
The study also found that residents reported improved access to health services and quality of care, with about 40 percent saying it was better after move-in; and housing with integrated onsite health services was a key driver of healthcare outcomes, suggesting that increasing these services may result in even greater cost savings. These services were broadly defined as medical, mental health, or dental services involving doctors, nurses, and other health professionals. Onsite health services reduced ED visits by an average of .43 visits per person per month and expenditures by an average of $115 per person per month.