Medical Assistance for Former Foster Youth

Both the Fostering Connections to Success Act of 2008 (Fostering Connections) and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA) extended Medical Assistance (MA) to eligible young adults beyond age 18. Per the ACA, youth who leave foster care at age 18 or older are eligible for MA until age 26. Unfortunately, many youth are unaware of this benefit. Two articles, “Foster Kids Can Get More Benefits, But May Not Know It,” and “Foster Youth and the Affordable Care Act: What You Need to Know (PDF),” highlight the importance of informing foster youth about this benefit.

Applying for Medical Assistance

Former foster care youth interested in applying for MA should go to the MNsure website. Individuals do not need to apply specifically for MA eligibility. They apply for help with health care insurance, and the system determines whether they qualify for MA under the former foster care category, or another category of MA, MinnesotaCare, or enrollment in a qualified health plan with or without advanced premium tax credit. The online application asks a series of questions designed to identify applicants who quality for MA as former foster care youth, including:

  1. Were you ever in foster care in Minnesota?
  2. Did foster care stop when you were age 18 or older?
  3. Were you on Medical Assistance or MinnesotaCare at the time foster care ended?