Medicaid is an important source of coverage for children and youth involved in the child welfare system. Children and youth receiving Title IV-E assistance, including foster care, guardianship assistance, and adoption assistance, are automatically eligible for Medicaid. Those who are not eligible for Title IV-E services (for example, children who do not meet the Title IV-E income standard but who are receiving in-home services) are not automatically eligible for Medicaid, but may be eligible through another pathway, such as the low-income or disability pathways.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (P.L. 111-148, as amended) required states to continue providing Medicaid coverage to youth under age 26 aging out of foster care (either Title IV-E or non-Title IV-E) who were receiving Medicaid, with the option of covering youth who have aged out in other states. States also may cover former foster care children up to age 21 without requiring that they had prior Medicaid enrollment or were in foster care in the same state in which the youth currently resides (known as the Chafee option).
For more, see The Intersection of Medicaid and Child Welfare.
TABLE 1. Child Welfare-Related Eligibility Pathways for Children
|Eligibility group||Federal statutory and regulatory requirements||State plan options|
|Children and youth involved in the child welfare system||Children receiving Title IV-E child welfare foster care or adoption assistance payments
Children aging out of foster care
|Children receiving (non-IV-E) state adoption assistance
Chafee option (independent foster care adolescents)
Source: MACPAC, 2017, Federal Requirements and State Options: Eligibility.