Support Casey Healthcare Bill for Former Foster Youth, Advocates Urge
Washington – The First Focus Campaign for Children, a bipartisan children’s advocacy organization, today endorsed the Health Insurance for Former Foster Youth Act. The legislation, introduced by United States Senator Bob Casey (D-Pennsylvania), ensures that young adults who grew up in foster care remain eligible for health care through Medicaid until they reach age 26, regardless of their state of residence.
“We applaud Senator Casey for his leadership and urge his colleagues to quickly advance this common-sense reform,” said First Focus Campaign for Children President Bruce Lesley.
The Affordable Care Act required states to extend Medicaid eligibility to age 26 for former foster youth who “aged out” of foster care within the state, paralleling a provision of the law that allows parents to keep young adult children on their family’s insurance policy until age 26. But the law gave states the option to apply the former foster youth provision to young adults who aged out of care in other states. Only 13 states (California, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Virginia, and Wisconsin) have adopted the option to cover young adults who aged out of foster care in other states.
Most children in foster care were victims of child abuse or neglect, and more than 20,000 children age out of foster care in a typical year. Foster children are more likely than their peers to face chronic physical and mental health problems, which often continue into adulthood. Former foster youth are also more likely than their peers to live in poverty and be uninsured. The Health Insurance for Former Foster Youth Act would ensure that former foster youth who age out of care in one state and live as young adults in another would always be eligible for Medicaid until they reach age 26.
“Moving across state lines shouldn’t cost young people their health care – especially former foster youth, who often struggle with extra health burdens,” said Lesley.
The First Focus Campaign for Children is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization affiliated with First Focus, a bipartisan children’s advocacy organization. The Campaign for Children advocates directly for legislative change in Congress to ensure children and families are the priority in federal policy and budget decisions. For more information, visit campaignforchildren.org.