(Pictured: Kayla VanDyke, FosterClub Youth Program Coordinator)

The Afordable Care Act (ACA) includes Medicaid coverage for foster youth up to age 26. The legislation was considered a huge victory for youth from the foster care system. However, the law is only as good as it’s implementation. For some.. it’s great! For others.. not so much. 

Kayla VanDyke - 23 years old from Minnesota's foster care system - described her recent experience with Medicaid and moving away from her home state. "After I beat the odds by graduating from college, I moved across the country to Oregon to pursue a professional opportunity. Unfortunately I was surprised to find out that the health care coverage that I relied on to treat my pre-existing health condition in my home state of MN would not carry over into the state of Oregon. I had to choose between my health and being successful in the field I had gone to school for."

Shadi Houshyar, First Focus’ Vice President for Child Welfare Policy wrote an article highlighting Medicaid issues and crediting the 13 states that provide coverage for ALL foster youth until age 26. From Shadi’s article, “Today, New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez signed legislation requiring the state to provide Medicaid coverage to former foster children up to age 26 regardless of the state in which they age out of foster care.  The bill passed both chambers unanimously and was signed by the Governor, making New Mexico the 13th state to ensure access to health coverage for all young people who aged of foster care, regardless of where they aged out of care.”

States providing Medicaid coverage to out of state foster youth:

  1. California
  2. Georgia
  3. Kentucky
  4. Louisiana
  5. Massachusetts
  6. Michigan
  7. Montana
  8. New York
  9. Pennsylvania
  10. South Dakota
  11. Wisconsin
  12. Virginia
  13. New Mexico

Read Shadi’s entire article here: Online Article
Download the article here: PDF



Good to know

Rosalina Burton's picture

I guess I should have seen this coming. Legislation to extend foster care to 21 was passed long before it was implemented here in California and it is still not in affect in many sates across the country. I just thought with Obama care and all the other improvements that our country is trying to make in health care that medicaid for all former foster youth in all states until we are 26 would be a given. This mindset is very dangerous, I am lucky to live in a state where awareness for current and former foster youth is at its highest and will hopefully continue to rise, I must not forget that many states are still struggling to have these basic yet fundamental opportunities. In the coming year I will keep my ear out for changes so that I can keep the youth that I work with informed. Thank you for this info.