Molly O'Malley Watts and MaryBeth Musumeci report at the Kaiser Family Foundation:
Nearly 3.2 million people received HCBS through one of the three main Medicaid programs in 2014, a five percent increase from the prior year. Most of the HCBS enrollment increase from 2013 to 2014 is due to a 27 percent increase in home health state plan services. Enrollment growth in Section 1915 (c) waivers was small (2%), while enrollment in personal care state plan services declined by six percent. Section 1915 (c) waivers continue to comprise half of total Medicaid HCBS enrollment across the three main programs. Home health state plan services makes up just over a quarter of total HCBS enrollment, while personal care state plan services account for just under a quarter of total HCBS enrollment. Seniors and adults with physical disabilities comprised over half (54%) of all Section 1915 (c) waiver enrollment, followed by people with intellectual or developmental disabilities (I/DD, 42%).
Total Medicaid spending on HCBS across the three main programs was $58.5 billion in 2014, an increase of three percent from the prior year. Spending growth was led by home health state plan services (11%), followed by a 10 percent increase in personal care state plan services, and a one percent increase in Section 1915 (c) waiver services. Nearly three-quarters (72%) of Medicaid HCBS spending went to Section 1915 (c) waivers. Section 1915 (c) waiver services targeted to adults with I/DD accounted for 70 percent of all Section 1915 (c) waiver spending, while waiver services targeted to seniors and nonelderly adults with physical disabilities was 27 percent of waiver spending.
Medicaid HCBS spending per enrollee averaged $18,458 nationally in 2014, with substantial state-level variation. For example, five states spent less than $10,000 per enrollee while seven states spent more than $30,000 per enrollee. Higher per enrollee spending in some states is at least in part due to the transfer of most HCBS waiver populations to Section 1115 MLTSS programs, leaving all or most enrollment in the three traditional HCBS programs comprised of people with I/DD, who may have more intensive needs and therefore higher spending compared to other target populations. Per enrollee spending also varied across the three main HCBS programs, ranging from $7,570 for home health services to $26,563 for Section 1915 (c) waiver services and reflecting differences in the type and extent of services provided by the different programs.
Three-quarters of states reported Section 1915 (c) or Section 1115 HCBS waiver waiting lists in 2016, totaling 656,195 individuals. The average waiting time across all waivers with waiting lists was 23 months, with substantial variation by waiver population, ranging from five months for HIV/AIDS waivers to 48 months for waivers targeted to people with I/DD. Eighty-seven percent of waivers with waiting lists offered non-waiver Medicaid services to individuals who were waiting for waiver services.