Kaiser Health News, by Anna Gorman

Nationwide, an estimated 180,000 former foster youths are eligible and close to 25,000 will qualify each year, according to the child advocacy group First Focus, which worked to get the provision into the Affordable Care Act. Youths are eligible even if they live in states that aren’t expanding their Medicaid programs.

Former foster children are more likely than their peers to have physical and mental health problems, often as a result of abuse or neglect that caused their placement in foster care to begin with, studies have shown. They are also more likely to be homeless and incarcerated, which can worsen their health.

“Times really are tough for young adults all over,” said Ed Walz, vice president of communications for First Focus. “But they need this care much more than their peers do.”

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