Children Now today announced the launch of Coveredtil26, a statewide
outreach campaign to ensure all former foster youth living in California
know they are now eligible for Medi-Cal coverage until age 26.
Previously, Medi-Cal coverage for former foster youth ended at age 21.
Although the Affordable Care Act provision extending health coverage to
former foster youth took full effect on January 1, 2014, the majority of
young adults who benefit from this new provision are not yet aware of
this exciting opportunity. The Coveredtil26 campaign provides advocates,
youth, and stakeholders with the necessary tools to learn about this new
benefit and navigate enrollment barriers.
Each year, over 20,000 youth age out of the foster care system in the
United States. In California alone, between 2,700 and 5,000 youth age
out of foster care every year. These vulnerable youth too often lack
adequate supports to make the transition to adulthood successfully. For
example, they are much less likely than their peers to have health
insurance, but tend to have more health care needs due to trauma
experienced during childhood.
"The Affordable Care Act's extension of health coverage to age 26 fills
a critical need for former foster youth who do not have the same option
as their peers to stay on a parent's insurance plan," said Ted Lempert,
President of Children Now. "However, it's imperative that state and
county agencies work together to ensure theprocesses for enrolling in
coverage are easy to navigate for this vulnerable population."
Children Now is working closely with the Department of Health Care
Services, county social service agencies, and the County Welfare
Directors Association (CWDA) to simplify enrollment processes for former
foster youth and educate enrollment workers about this important ACA
"Making sure that former foster youth can get the health care services
they need and deserve is a high priority for the state," said Anastasia
Dodson, associate director of the California Department of Health Care
Services, which oversees the Medi-Cal program. "We are committed to work
with our county partners, other state agencies, and advocates to ensure
that these youth can promptly and easily enroll in Medi-Cal coverage."
Currently, the best way for former foster youth to enroll in coverage is
to apply directly through a county social service agency office using a
simple one-page form.
"Providing Medi-Cal coverage up to age 26 is one more way we recognize
that many former foster youth who are transitioning into adulthood need
continued support, including access to health care," said Frank Mecca,
CWDA Executive Director. "This is a great change, and our county social
service agencies are diligently working to ensure eligible youth do not
miss out on this opportunity."
Former foster youth qualify for Medi-Cal coverage until age 26 if they:
Youth are eligible for Medi-Cal coverage regardless of income. Because
there is no open enrollment period for Medi-Cal, former foster youth can
apply any time of the year.
For more information on the extension of Medi-Cal coverage for former
foster youth and the Coveredtil26 campaign visit www.coveredtil26.org.
Children Now is the leading, nonpartisan, umbrella research, policy
development, and advocacy organization dedicated to promoting children's
health and education in California and creating national media policies
that support child development. The organization also leads The
Children's Movement of California.
The Coveredtil26 campaign is funded by a grant from The California
Wellness Foundation (TCWF). Created in 1992 as a private independent
foundation, TCWF's mission is to improve the health of the people of
California by making grants for health promotion, wellness education,
and disease prevention.
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