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Current Florida policy leaves hundreds of foster children without Medicaid coverage


Until recently, the state of Florida has continued to abandon foster children who had already been abused and neglected, even after they left state care, by improperly removing 1,730 former foster children from Medicaid. Former foster children, under federal law, remain Medicaid eligible until age 26. However, a current Florida policy requires all former foster children to reapply for Medicaid at age 22, leaving hundreds of young adults without coverage.

 

The Department of Children and Families (“DCF”) has quietly waived the policy since January 2021, after a group of Florida lawyers threatened the DeSantis administration with legal action against the state for what they believe is an unconstitutional policy. The South Florida legal group alleges Florida healthcare officials improperly removed former foster children from Medicaid at the age of 21, even though they continued to qualify for Medicaid eligibility under the ex-parte review category, established by the Affordable Care Act, until age 26.

 

Hope is on the horizon, as new legislation would require DCF to find former foster children eligible for Medicaid, providing relief to a very vulnerable group of young adults, relief that they are entitled to under federal law. Many former foster children have suffered grave offenses, including abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect while in state care. The unanimously approved House Bill 1071 would bring Florida into conformity with federal law and provide proper access to affordable medical and mental health treatment many former foster children desperately need after aging out of state care.

 

Other Florida Locations Served:

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Tallahassee Child Abuse Law Firm

Naples Child Abuse Law Firm

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