HCBS first became available in 1983 when Congress added section 1915(c) to the Social Security Act, giving States the option to receive a waiver of Medicaid rules governing institutional care. In 2005, HCBS became a formal Medicaid State plan option. Several States include HCBS services in their Medicaid State plans. 47 States and DC are operating at least one 1915(c) waiver.

State Medicaid agencies have several HCBS options:

CMS works with States to assure and improve quality in Medicaid HCBS waiver programs. See page on quality monitoring of HCBS waivers for more information.