Federal compromise on opioid legislation includes Medicaid coverage for former foster youth

Written by: Erin Miller
Date Posted: September 28, 2018

Former foster youth would have better access health services under legislation being considered this fall in Congress. This week leaders in Washington, D.C., announced that they had reached a final compromise on proposed legislation to curb opioid use that would. The bill, known as H.R. 6, will require a final vote in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S Senate in the coming weeks.

While we are still reviewing the full 660-page bill, we are pleased to see that a provision supported by the All Kids Covered coalition to extend Medicaid coverage for youth who age out of the foster care system is included in the final bill (see letter below). The change will go into effect in 2023, and the Department of Health and Human Services will issue guidance to states on best practices for removing barriers and ensuring streamlined, timely access to Medicaid coverage for former foster youth and raising awareness among these youth.

Current law requires that children be able to stay on their parents’ health insurance plan until they turn 26, but requires states to provide ongoing Medicaid coverage only for children who age of foster care in the state in which they reside. Medicaid coverage is comprehensive and affordable and children in foster care are more likely to have chronic and behavioral health conditions than their peers.

Supporting stable Medicaid coverage for this group of young adults, regardless of the state in which they live, will remove a significant barrier to the health and well-being of children from the most sensitive circumstances, allowing them to reach their full potential, and ensuring funding to our health care providers. This change helps to level the playing field between children with parents and those who age out of the foster care system. It will remove barriers to health for thousands of young adults in Colorado.

Erin Miller

About Erin Miller

Erin serves as the Vice President of Health Initiatives for the Colorado Children’s Campaign, leading efforts to improve health insurance coverage and quality for Colorado’s kids, improve access to health services, and ensure that every child has healthy places to live, learn, and play. Prior to joining the Children’s Campaign in September 2015, Erin worked on the Accountable Care Collaborative team at the Colorado Department of Health Policy and Financing. She has extensive experience evaluating federal, state, and local policies related to Medicaid, CHIP, the Affordable Care Act, and public health programs as well as working with legislators, policymakers, constituents, and other stakeholders to improve the health and well-being of vulnerable populations. Her professional experiences range from serving as a WIC Educator and Local Area Retail Coordinator for Denver Health to serving as a Special Assistant in the HHS Office of Planning and Evaluation in Washington DC and as a Health Policy Adviser and Budget Analyst for the U.S. House Budget Committee.