Posts Tagged ‘Fatima Morales’

Former foster kids get MediCal help via Obamacare

Posted: Mar 24, 2014 | Posted by Kassy Perry | Comments Off on Former foster kids get MediCal help via Obamacare

BY BERNARD J. WOLFSON / STAFF WRITER
Published: March 19, 2014 Updated: March 20, 2014 12:25 p.m.

Social workers and county youth agencies in California are promoting a little-known provision in the Affordable Care Act that will allow thousands of former foster kids statewide to stay on MediCal until age 26 without regard to their income.

MediCal, the government-funded health insurance program, is normally for low-income people, who are required to provide proof of their financial status. The new provision, which took effect Jan. 1, expands on the previous law, which allowed former foster children to be insured by MediCal without meeting income criteria until age 21.

Anybody who was in foster care on their 18th birthday, anywhere in the U.S., is eligible.

“We are very excited that former foster youth can qualify for this coverage, because the transition to adulthood for this population can be a difficult one,” said Fatima Morales of Los Angeles-based Children Now, which is running a statewide campaign to enroll as many former foster children as possible. “There are often greater health care needs because of abuse and neglect or trauma they’ve experienced in childhood.”

The federal health reform law allows anybody under age 26 to stay on their parents’ health plans, so the new provision creates “equity for former foster youth who don’t have a parent’s health plan they can rely on,” Morales said.

Linda Levshin, director of youth transition services at the Orangewood Children’s Foundation in Santa Ana, said she has seen former foster kids end up heavily in debt because they had a medical mishap when they were uninsured.

“This will really help to ensure they don’t go into debt to take care of themselves, and it will encourage them to take care of themselves,” she said.

To learn more, get contact information and download enrollment forms, go to coveredtil26.org. To enroll in Orange County, call the foster care office of the OC Social Services Agency at 714-704-8382.

Health law to help foster youth to age 26

Posted: Feb 21, 2014 | Posted by Kassy Perry | Comments Off on Health law to help foster youth to age 26

Vallejo Times-Herald
POSTED: February 21, 2014 12:53:46 AM PST
By Sarah Rohrs/Times-Herald staff writer

Click here to read the article on www.timesheraldonline.com

Growing up in foster care, some children and teens don’t get the kind of medical attention they need, while some may have suffered from abuse and neglect and have lingering health problems, advocates said.

One provision of the Affordable Care Act could help foster youth get medical attention they need after they are emancipated from the system at age 21.

Children Now has launched a campaign to spread the word that all former foster youth living in California are eligible for Medi-Cal health coverage until age 26. Previously coverage ended for them at 21 when they left the system.

The www.coveredtil26.org website is designed for youth to learn about the new requirements and how they can apply.

Youth who are involved in the foster care system tend to have higher health care needs due to child abuse and neglect experienced in early childhood, said Fatima Morales, Children Now policy and outreach associate. “Generally, their health care needs tend to be higher than their peers.”

In Vallejo, Cynthia Grady of New Beginnings, an organization which helps young adults after they “age out” of foster care, said the new federal provisions are beneficial.

Some of her clients have asthma, bronchitis, dental and vision issues that they haven’t been able to get treated because they no longer qualify for Medi-Cal, Grady said.

To help spread the word about the new foster care health coverage, New Beginnings is hosting an informational session 4-7 p.m. Saturday, March 22 at 1020 Colusa St. in Vallejo.

Young adults will be encouraged to hang out, enjoy some food and fun activities while also learn about the health coverage and other resources available to them.

After they turn 21, foster care youth will not automatically qualify for the Medi-Cal extension but will need to apply for it, Grady and others said.

Solano County Health and Human Services Director Ann Edwards said the health care extension will cost taxpayers more in Medi-Cal subsidies but it will save money over the long run by helping young adults stay healthy.

“It’s a very good thing for kids in that transition period. It’s even hard for kids when they have families and other resources. It’s particularly difficult for foster youth who don’t have family to fall back on,” Edwards said.

Edwards said her department will also be doing some outreach to help get the word out to former foster youth who have aged out of the system that they are eligible for Medi-Cal.
Exact figures on the numbers of young adults who will be impacted by the new requirements were not available.

Morales said California has an estimated 26,000 former foster youth between the ages of 21 and 26 who may qualify for Medi-Cal as a result of the extension of coverage to age 26.

Each year in the state between 2,700 and 5,000 youth are emancipated or “age out” of the system when they turned 21, according to Children Now.

Former foster youth qualify for the Medi-Cal coverage until age 26 if they were in foster care in any state at age 18 or older, are younger than age 26, and live in California now.

For more details go to http://www.coveredtil26.org/.