GARY, Ind. (AP) — Some 5,000 former Indiana foster children
stand to gain health insurance under the federal health care overhaul.
Starting Jan. 1, states are required to allow children who have aged out of
the foster care system to retain Medicaid coverage through age 26, the
Post-Tribune reported (http://bit.ly/1a5FoJ7
Indiana's actuarial firm, Milliman, estimates covering the former foster
children will cost Indiana $3 million.
The only requirements for enrollment are that the person must have been in
the Indiana foster care system when they turned 18 and had previously
enrolled in Medicaid or a waiver program, said Marni Lemons, a spokeswoman
for the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration. The coverage has
no income requirement, she said.
The Indiana Department of Child Services has been contacting former foster
children to inform them of their coverage eligibility, Lemons said.
The foster child provision was added to the health reform law because it is
unlikely they will benefit from another provision allowing children to
remain covered under their parents' health insurance until age 26, the
Increased access to health and mental health services is especially
important for former foster children since they are more likely to face
health challenges as they grow older, the National Survey of Child and
Adolescent Well-Being reports.
At a Nov. 4 Gary forum on the health overhaul, Denise Dillard, Methodist
Hospital's vice president of external and governmental affairs, said many
young people she spoke to are eager to receive information on benefits they
may receive through the law.
Under the law, foster youths must develop transition plans in the months
before aging out of foster care in which they must nominate a person who can
make medical decisions on their behalf.
"Students who are aging out of foster care — the law is huge for those
children," Dillard said. "They really wanted to know how it impacted them.
They must have an attorney representing them in case they are incapacitated
due to illness."