Until recently, Arkansas Medicaid has been largely restricted to children, pregnant woman, the aged, and the disabled. Arkansas’s decision to extend coverage through the Health Care Independence Program (HCIP) to low-income adults provides the state with an opportunity to improve the health of its most vulnerable citizens, including the homeless. Homeless populations experience difficulty accessing medical care, treatment for mental health conditions, and care for substance use disorders, which can lead to high hospital utilization and costs, incarceration, and difficulty in obtaining housing. Studies show that reliable health care can result in overall cost reductions in caring for individuals who are homeless and can decrease homelessness.
This document provides information about Arkansas’s homeless population, the advantages of healthcare coverage for them, and specific opportunities within Medicaid to provide services for individuals who are homeless.