New America Media, News Report, Anna Challet
SAN FRANCISCO — Under Obamacare, most former foster youth will now remain eligible for Medicaid until age 26 – if they remain in the states they lived in when they aged out of care.
Advocates emphasize that because many former foster youth fail to access Medicaid once they’ve left the child welfare system, it is important to keep them continuously covered until age 26 without having to re-determine their eligibility.
It remains to be seen how states will make sure that former foster youth are aware of their eligibility and are able to enroll.
While about 6 million young adults currently have coverage under a parallel health care reform provision that allows them to stay on their parents’ employer-based plans, the provision for foster youth has not yet been implemented. Advocates are calling on states to prepare for the implementation of extended eligibility, and to create systems for enrolling former foster youth as they turn 21, and for informing youths up to age 26 of their eligibility.
“We should make sure that sustaining Medicaid coverage is in their transition plan,” says Tricia Brooks, a senior fellow at the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute’s Center for Children and Families (CCF).
Advocates from several states spoke at a teleconference this month hosted by CCF on the extended eligibility provision.
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