Medicaid generally covers the health care needs of children while they are in foster care, but until a new Medicaid provision became effective in January 2014, coverage usually ended when a young person "aged out." Now, states cover, individuals under age 26 who were enrolled in Medicaid and in foster care and aged out either at 18 or older, depending on the state. This extension of Medicaid mirrors the provision that allows young adults to stay on their parents' health insurance until age 26. Learn more about Medicaid coverage for former foster youth (PDF, 105.5 KB).
In 2012, more than 23,000 youth exited foster care (aged out) without a permanent family. Children and youth in foster care often have experienced child abuse, neglect or trauma, which can lead to long-term health consequences or chronic conditions. As a group, children and youth in foster care have more health needs, including significantly higher rates of mental and physical health disorders, outpatient visits and inpatient stays than their counterparts who are not in foster care. Health coverage is vital to youth leaving foster care so they can address their health needs and move forward towards higher education and employment. Learn more about the health needs of former foster youth and about how Independent Living Coordinators in Idaho help re-connect former foster youth with Medicaid.
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