Health Insurance Until Age 26 for Youth Aging Out of Foster Care and Former Foster Youth

The Affordable Care Act requires states to provide youth under 26 with continued health insurance coverage under Medicaid if they were in foster care at age 18. This ensures former foster youth can access the health care services they need—just like non-foster youth who can stay on their parents’ insurance plans until 26.

Who is eligible?

You are eligible for full Medicaid coverage to age 26 in North Carolina if you:

  • Are between the ages of 18 and 26; and
  • Were in foster care at age 18 and enrolled in NC Medicaid; and
  • Are a North Carolina resident; and
  • Aren’t receiving Medicaid from another state; and
  • Aren’t an inmate of a public institution.
What about youth in care now who are about to age out?

Youth should set up an appointment with their county’s Medicaid Eligibility worker to begin the paperwork. Your LINKS Coordinator can help set this appointment up if necessary. The paperwork can be completed in advance and ready to process on your 18th birthday.

What about former foster youth under age 26 without health insurance?

If you know a young person who was in foster care on their 18th
birthday, is not yet 26, and who does not have health insurance,
encourage them to contact their local county department of social services. You can find a directory of NC county DSS agencies here:

Sources: NCDMA, 2014; Children Now, 2014