Racial Disparities in Medicaid Home and Community-Based Service Utilization among White, Black, and Hispanic Adults with Multiple Sclerosis: Implications of State Policy

Chanee Fabius, Jessica Ogarek, Theresa I. Shireman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Home- and community-based services (HCBS) provide support to individuals needing assistance with daily activities, like people with multiple sclerosis (MS) who often experience functional impairment. Research notes racial differences in HCBS utilization among people with MS, which may be attributed to state’s relative amount of long-term service and support (LTSS) expenditures dedicated to HCBS (HCBS priority). As a first step in untangling this mechanism, we explored how HCBS priority may contribute to racial differences in service utilization. Using Medicaid claims data for a national cohort of dual eligibles with MS, we find state HCBS priority is associated with disparities in utilization—blacks and Hispanics receiving HCBS more often do so in low-priority states compared with whites. Findings indicate a need for additional research focusing on health equity to further examine effects on quality of life and health outcomes of individuals who would benefit from more generous HCBS policies, specifically determining whether minorities in low-HCBS states fare worse than those in high-priority states. Findings from the present study can help policymakers more effectively design HCBS programs for diverse individuals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019



  • Aging policy
  • Dual eligibles
  • Home- and community-based services
  • Racial/ethnic disparities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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