Kentucky’s youth in foster care are a vulnerable population who need access to comprehensive health coverage.
Youth in foster care and who have aged out of foster care have disproportionately high rates of serious physical, mental, and behavioral health issues. They are more likely to have health issues that affect their day-to-day functioning and more likely to need psychological and substance abuse counseling. Many youth formerly in foster care live at or below the poverty line and often experience homelessness within a year of leaving foster care. Young adults who have aged out of foster care cannot afford to purchase health coverage or incur medical debt – they need to have access to quality services to address chronic health issues.
Beginning in 2021, Aetna Better Health of Kentucky will be the sole Managed Care Organization (MCO) for the Supporting Kentucky Youth (SKY) program. As the MCO selected to manage the new SKY program, Aetna will serve as the statewide coordinator of physical and behavioral health, dental care, and social services for children and youth in foster care, Medicaid eligible youth in the juvenile justice system, former foster youth under age 26, youth placed with fictive kin, and adoption assistance youth.
As advocates, we know the coverage offered through the SKY program is critical to ensuring this high-risk population can access health coverage including:
- Medical care, including for chronic conditions like asthma and diabetes
- Vision exams and vision wear
- Substance use treatment, such as detox and outpatient services
- Mental health treatment and counseling
- Dental coverage
All current foster youth in Kentucky will be automatically enrolled in the new SKY program and coverage will begin on January 1, 2020.
Right now, during 2021 Open Enrollment, is a perfect time for former foster youth to apply for Medicaid benefits. Youth over age 18 who were formerly in foster care are eligible for coverage until they turn 26.
Open Enrollment ends on December 15, 2020 and coverage begins on January 1, 2021. To learn more about Medicaid coverage and apply, visit the Kynect Portal.