Service Use and Unmet Needs Among Adults with Autism Awaiting Home- and Community-Based Medicaid Services

J Autism Dev Disord. 2021 Apr;51(4):1188-1200. doi: 10.1007/s10803-020-04593-2.


Autistic adults in need of long-term services and supports spend months on waiting lists before receiving such services through Medicaid. Data from a state-wide survey of adults and their caregivers on a waiting list for autism waivers suggest that the majority have unmet needs for functional skills services (63.6%), employment or vocation services (62.1%), and mental and behavioral health services (52.8%). Almost a third require case management services (28.3%). Predictors of greater service need are African American race and the number of physical and behavioral health diagnoses. Predictors of greater service receipt were employment status, housing type, and school enrollment; there was lower service receipt for African American race, Hispanic ethnicity, over age 21 years, and college completion.

Keywords: Adults with autism; Medicaid; Unmet needs; Waiting list.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Autistic Disorder / epidemiology
  • Autistic Disorder / rehabilitation
  • Autistic Disorder / therapy*
  • Caregivers
  • Employment / statistics & numerical data
  • Ethnicity / statistics & numerical data
  • Facilities and Services Utilization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Services Accessibility / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Services Needs and Demand / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medicaid / statistics & numerical data
  • United States