Identifying Homeless Medicaid Enrollees Using Enrollment Addresses

Katherine D. Vickery, Nathan D. Shippee, Peter Bodurtha, Laura M. Guzman-Corrales, Elyse Reamer, Dana Soderlund, Stephanie Abel, Danielle Robertshaw, Lillian Gelberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Objective: To design and test the validity of a method to identify homelessness among Medicaid enrollees using mailing address data. Data Sources/Study Setting: Enrollment and claims data on Medicaid expansion enrollees in Hennepin and Ramsey counties who also provided self-reported information on their current housing situation in a psychosocial needs assessment. Study Design: Construction of address-based indicators and comparison with self-report data. Principal Findings: Among 1,677 enrollees, 427 (25 percent) self-reported homelessness, of whom 328 (77 percent) had at least one positive address indicator. Depending on the type of addresses included in the indicator, sensitivity to detect self-reported homelessness ranged from 30 to 76 percent and specificity from 79 to 97 percent. Conclusions: An address-based indicator can identify a large proportion of Medicaid enrollees who are experiencing homelessness. This approach may be of interest to researchers, states, and health systems attempting to identify homeless populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1992-2004
Number of pages13
JournalHealth services research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was approved by the Institutional Review Board of Minnesota Department of Human Services and Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation.

Funding Information:
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program during Dr. Vickery’s early work. Dr. Vickery’s subsequent work was supported by a career development award through Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation. The work of Drs. Vickery and Shippee and Ms. Guzman-Corrales and receipt of the data set used in this study was supported by the Commonwealth Fund, grant no. 2014076 (PI: ND Shippee). Disclosures: None. Disclaimer: None.


  • Medicaid expansion
  • determinants of health/population health/socioeconomic causes of health
  • homelessness

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