You might have heard the federal government recently approved Pennsylvania’s “Healthy PA” proposal to expand insurance coverage to more low-income adults. What you might not know is the feds rightfully rejected a part of the proposal that would have created a needless barrier to insuring former foster youth.
The original “Healthy PA” proposal would have required former foster youth to meet certain work requirements at age 21 and required some “aged out” foster youth to begin paying monthly Medicaid premiums in 2016. Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children was among those who opposed this idea and asked the feds to reject it. Many of you wrote letters supporting our position.
Under federal law, foster youth who age out of foster care as they enter adulthood - often with little or no support from family - must be provided Medicaid until age 26. This requirement is meant to ensure these young people have the same access to health insurance coverage as other young adults who are legally allowed to stay on their parents’ insurance plan until age 26.
Research shows the many challenges facing youth who age out of foster care, including the greater likelihood of homelessness, lack of employment and absence of health coverage. Allowing former foster youth to remain on Medicaid without needless fees or unfair requirements helps them overcome obstacles as they move into adulthood.
We’re glad to see the federal government agreed and we’re pleased that so many of you joined us in standing up for former foster youth.
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