Brief: The Affordable Care Act and Youth Aging Out of Foster Care

Brief: The Affordable Care Act and Youth Aging Out of Foster Care  Thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), beginning on January 1, 2014, states must now provide Medicaid coverage for individuals under age 26 who were in foster care at age 18 and receiving Medicaid.  This provision parallels one that allows all young people to stay on their parent’s health insurance until age 26. For youth who have spent time in foster care, access to health and mental health services is of critical importance and can make a difference in their successful transition to adulthood. Former foster youth typically face multiple health risks and experience behavioral health challenges and chronic health conditions at a greater rate than their peers, so ensuring that they can access this new health coverage is vital. Unfortunately, many service providers, state agencies, and former foster youth, themselves, are not aware of this new mandatory Medicaid coverage, which weakens its purpose. Link to article