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 DHS News February 2014     


Affordable Care Act Covers Youth Aging Out of Foster Care

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010 has become well -known for allowing young adults up to age 26 to maintain health care coverage by staying on their parents’ plans. But as of Jan. 1, 2014, the ACA also makes provision for certain youth aging out of foster care to stay covered, a fact that the Allegheny County Department of Human Services (DHS) is publicizing.

“This provision of the ACA fills a critical need for former foster youth,” said JoAnn Hannah, manager of the DHS Independent Living Initiative, a program for young people aging out of foster care. “We will be conducting extensive outreach to our young adults in an effort make certain that every eligible foster youth participates in the program.” 

DHS is reminding providers, eligible young adults and caregivers of an ACA provision that allows youth who were in foster care on or after their 18th birthday and up to age 26 to sign up for Medicaid/Medical Assistance. For those still in foster care who now receive coverage, eligibility may continue beyond age 18. Caseworkers are the best source of information about the issue, and young adults or foster caregivers should contact their caseworkers if there are questions.

Young adults up to age 26 are also eligible even if they signed themselves out of foster care when they were 18 or aged out of it when they turned 21.

Young people who left foster care before age 18 or who did not receive medical assistance while in foster care are not eligible. For those individuals, signups are done via the state’s online application system, COMPASS.

The Allegheny County Assistance Office also contacts youth already receiving medical assistance or their caregivers yearly to renew benefits. Young adults should keep their address up to date with the office, and keep required documents, such as income verification, on hand. More information is available here at the Medicaid.gov website.

Additional information about the ACA is available at www.healthcare.gov and www.dpw.state.pa.us. Questions can be addressed to the PA Consumer Service Center, 1-866-550-4355.





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