D. Transitioning Youth

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), commonly called the Affordable Care Act (ACA), requires states to provide Medicaid coverage to youth and young adults under age 26 who were in foster care and were receiving Medicaid when they aged out of foster care.

The Former Foster Care Children (FFCC) program provides healthcare coverage to youth who age out of foster care at age 18, were receiving Medicaid coverage at the time they aged out, are a U.S. citizen or have qualified alien status such as a green card. This coverage is available through age 25 under two separate programs, based on age:

•   Young adults aged 18 through 20 are automatically enrolled in the STAR Health program, but can switch to the STAR program, if they prefer; and

•   Young adults aged 21 through 25 must choose a STAR program health plan.

For foster youth who are under the age of 21, but who are not eligible for the FFCC program because the youth did not receive Medicaid at the time he/she aged out of care, coverage is provided by STAR Health for youth who:

•   Were in Texas foster care on his/her 18th birthday or older;

•   Do not have other health coverage;

•   Meet program rules for income; and

•   Are a US citizen or have a qualified alien status, such as a green card.

It is not necessary for a court to extend jurisdiction beyond age 18 for this coverage to apply. See the Bench Book Chapter entitled Extending Foster Care for Transitioning Youth for more information.