Medicaid to 26 FAQs: The Basics
This FAQ represents the interpretation of Juvenile Law Center. We will update this FAQ as we learn new information, so please check back frequently for updates. While these questions and answers are Pennsylvania-specific, many could apply in other states.
If you're a child welfare professional with questions, visit our child advocate FAQ's page.
How does the Affordable Care Act (ACA) help former foster youth?
The ACA provides young adults under age 26 with free health insurance through the Medicaid program if they were in foster care on or after their 18th birthday and enrolled in Medicaid.
Who is eligible for Medicaid until age 26 as a former foster youth?
You qualify for Medicaid until age 26 in the state where you were in foster care if:
- You were in foster care at age 18 or older and enrolled in Medicaid at that time in the state you are now applying for Medicaid, and
- You are under age 26.
What if I move to another state after I age out of foster care?
Currently, states are only required to give coverage under Medicaid to 26 to young adults who were in foster care in that state. However, some states have decided that they will cover former foster youth from any state. This means if you move to one of those states, were in foster care at age 18 or older, and were enrolled in Medicaid at that time, you can be covered under the former foster youth category until age 26. Below is a list of states that cover former foster youth no matter what state they were in foster care :
- New Mexico
- New York
- South Dakota