Medicaid Eligibility Policy for Children in Foster Care
According to a 1995 report by the General Accounting Office, the 300,000 children living in foster care are among the most vulnerable children in the U.S. As a group, they are sicker than homeless children and children living in the poorest sections of inner cities. This high level of health care need makes health care coverage crucial to a state’s ability to care effectively and adequately for children in foster care. In most cases, the Medicaid program is the primary source of such coverage. However, a child in foster care is not necessarily eligible for Medicaid. While states have the flexibility to provide Medicaid coverage to almost all children in foster care, they are not required to do so. As a result, a child in foster care may be eligible for Medicaid depending on the child’s circumstances and the Medicaid eligibility rules in the state in which he or she resides.