Community Catalyst Encourages Health Plans to Invest in Affordable Housing

A recent issue brief from the Center for Consumer Engagement in Health Innovation at Community Catalyst explores how health plan resources can be used to invest in affordable housing. The health care system has increasingly focused on the non-medical drivers of health such as food security, transportation, and affordable, accessible housing. While many hospitals have begun to invest in these “social determinants of health,” fewer health plans have done so. 

At a time when many health plans are highly capitalized, the report encourages them to invest a portion of their reserves back into the community. The issue brief provides background on the health plan regulatory and financial landscape, offers perspectives on the feasibility of health plan investments into housing and community development without adversely affecting their financial position, and describes the various options for making these investments.

“Health plans provide coverage for the medical expenses of their members,” write the authors.  “Increasingly, however – and particularly in the context of a widespread shift in the health care system to value-based models – health plans’ payments are based, in part, on their members’ health outcomes. The adoption of this responsibility for outcomes follows the increasingly widespread understanding of the impact of social, environmental and economic factors on our health, including safe and affordable housing.”

Community Catalyst, a member of the Opportunity Starts at Home multi-sector affordable homes campaign’s Steering Committee, is a national nonprofit advocacy organization working to build the consumer and community leadership required to transform the nation’s health system.

Read the issue brief here

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