Reports

A New Year and New Medicaid Coverage for Former Foster Youth

Child Abuse & Neglect
Health

A New Year and New Medicaid Coverage for Former Foster YouthSigned into law on March 23, 2010, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) makes a number of improvements to Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), helping millions of Americans access affordable health coverage. Thanks to the ACA, beginning on January 1, all youth who turned 18 in foster care between 2007 and 2013 are now eligible for Medicaid. On July 5, CMS published the final rule in the federal register, clarifying a number of important points, including the following: the new eligibility category of former foster youth are eligible for full Medicaid benefits including Early, Periodic, Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment (EPSDT) (with EPSDT provided up to age 21). Among the top issues that were not finalized in the final rule remained the “state option” or option rather than requirement for states to cover former foster care children who aged out of foster care in another state. Although the final rule clarified a number of implementation concerns, as January drew closer, it was clear that many issues remained unresolved. For instance, were states required to screen or determine if young adults are eligible for other categories of Medicaid before providing coverage under the new mandatory category of youth formerly in foster care and what verification process is required in the initial application?  In late December, CMS issued an FAQ that clarified several outstanding issues. These and still remaining questions are highlighted in this brief.

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