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Health care law to help ex-foster kids

– Some 5,000 former Indiana foster children stand to gain health insurance under the federal health care overhaul.

Starting Jan. 1, states are required to let children who have aged out of the foster care system keep Medicaid coverage through age 26, the Post-Tribune reported.

Indiana’s actuarial firm, Milliman, estimates that covering the former foster children will cost Indiana $3 million.

The only requirements for enrollment are that former foster children must have been in the Indiana foster care system when they turned 18 and must have previously enrolled in Medicaid or a waiver program, said Marni Lemons, a spokeswoman for the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration. The coverage has no income requirement, she said.

The Indiana Department of Child Services has been contacting former foster children to inform them of their coverage eligibility, Lemons said.

The provision was added to the health reform law because it is unlikely that young adults who grew up in foster care will benefit from another provision allowing people to remain covered under their parents’ health insurance until age 26, the newspaper said.

Under the law, foster youths must develop a transition plan before aging out of foster care in which they nominate a person who can make medical decisions on their behalf.