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What are social needs?

Beginning March 1, 2024, Oregon Health Plan (OHP) members can get free benefits based on social needs. Access the information below to learn more, find out if you are eligible, and get help applying for these benefits.

Social needs refer to social and economic needs that contribute to your health and well-being. They include food security, transportation, interpersonal violence, education, income/employment, stable housing, social support, and utility assistance. When one or multiple of your social needs are unmet, you can experience poor health outcomes.

What is the health-related social needs (HRSN) benefit?

As part of the state’s recent 1115 waiver, Oregon was approved to offer the new health-related social needs (HRSN) benefit. The HRSN benefit was developed to support OHP members experiencing specific life transitions, to improve their health during this time.

The HRSN Benefit is broken down into three separate categories: housing, nutrition, and climate. See the eligibility section below for examples of applicable life transitions and other requirements for each category.

Am I eligible? 

To be eligible you must meet all of the following 4 criteria:

1You are a current OHP member.

2You have a social health need (food, housing, climate).

3You have experienced at least one of the following:

  • Are a youth involved with the child welfare system, including youth leaving foster care
  • Are experiencing homelessness or are at risk of homelessness
  • Have been released from custody or a residential behavioral health setting
  • Are transitioning from Medicaid-only to both Medicaid and Medicare coverage
  • Are ages 19-26 with special health care needs (starting 1/1/25)

4You have a clinical health need; some examples include:

  • Complex physical health needs
  • Complex behavioral health needs
  • Pregnancy
  • Age (under 6, over 65)
  • Repeated use of crisis services, such as the Emergency Department
  • Needs assistance with Activities of Daily Living (e.g., personal hygiene, eating, dressing)
  • Has experienced interpersonal violence or domestic violence
  • Developmental disability

HRSN benefit categories

Available starting on March 1, 2024. Items include:

  • Air Conditioners, including installation support as needed
  • Air filtration devices
  • Heaters
  • Portable Power Supplies (for powering medical devices)
  • Mini fridges (for medication needing refrigeration)

Additional eligibility criteria for climate benefit

  1. You have a health condition that makes extreme heat, cold temperature, poor air quality, or power outage particularly challenging or dangerous to you. 
  2. You are in one of these transitional groups:
    • You will become eligible for Medicare in addition to OHP in the next three months.
    • You enrolled in Medicare in addition to OHP for the first time no more than nine months ago.
    • You are currently homeless or may be homeless soon: you might lose housing; you spend at least 50% of your income on rent; you live in a recreational vehicle (RV, trailer); you don’t have a regular place to sleep; or you are staying at someone else’s home.
    • You received care in the Oregon State Hospital or at a large substance use disorder residential treatment or withdrawal management program in the past 12 months.
    • You were released from a jail, detention center, Oregon Youth Authority facility, or prison in the last 12 months.
    • You were involved with child welfare services in Oregon at some point in your life; you have been in foster or substitute care, received adoption or guardianship assistance or family preservation services, or have been in court regarding child welfare.
  3. You currently need one of the above climate devices.

Tentatively available starting in November 2024

More details coming soon!

Tentatively available starting in January 2025

More details coming soon!

How do I request a health-related social needs (HRSN) benefit?

A request form needs to be filled out and submitted to CareOregon by email or fax. You have a couple of options:

  • If you have questions about the HRSN benefits, are unsure if you are eligible, or would like help filling out the HRSN application form, contact CareOregon Customer Service at or 503-416-4100
  • You can also fill out and return the form yourself, or with the help of a parent, a caregiver, or a guardian/support/trusted friend, or a staff member from an organization or clinic.
  • Submit by fax, email or mail
Download request form here

If you find yourself ineligible for the HRSN benefit, you can submit a flexible services request instead.

Read our HRSN handout

To read information about health-related social needs in a simple one-page format, please click on the language of your choice below.