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Obamacare Expands Health Care to Former Foster Youth

Throughout history, foster care children and youth have been one of the most underserved populations—too often not receiving the care, attention, and services they need. However, the Affordable Care Act marks a significant improvement by bringing necessary support and health care to former and current foster care children and youth.

Foster care children and youth now qualify for free, full-scope Medi-Cal until the age of 26, regardless of their income. This means medical care, vision exams, dental care, substance abuse treatment and mental health services. Mental health services are one of the most critical services for this community, because nationwide as many as 57 percent of youth in foster care suffer from mental health disorders—a number that is significantly higher than the national youth average of 21 percent of youth ages 9-17 suffering from mental health disorders.

Fortunately, because of the Affordable Care Act, not only do former foster care children and youth qualify for care until age 26, but the process for applying has been streamlined and does not require annual renewal. Additionally, because they qualify regardless of income, they should be able to skip any questions on the application about income.

Young adults having troubling enrolling can contact a foster care ombudsman at 1-877-846-1602 or email fosteryouthhelp@dss.ca.gov.