On January 1,Oregon began providing Medicaid/Oregon Health Plan benefits to former foster care youth under the age of 26.

Oregon's program is called the Former Foster Care Youth Medical Program. It is estimated that there are 3,329 former foster care youth in Oregon eligible for the program.

A provision in the Affordable Care Act allows children/dependents under the age of 26 to stay on their parent's health insurance. Recognizing that children who are discharged from the foster care system as an adult (18-20) do not always have that option, the ACA includes a provision allowing former foster care youth to remain on Medicaid until age 26, regardless of income.

"We are working with our caseworkers, community partners and stakeholder networks to help us get the word out, so these young adults can get enrolled in health care coverage" said Sherril Kuhns, federal compliance manager for the Oregon Office of Child Welfare. "Since January 2014, we have enrolled 544 youth under the age of 26 into the Former Foster Care Youth Medical Program."

Youth can request a FFCY application from their DHS caseworker, Independent Living Program provider or FosterClub Dedicated Outreach Representative. Other options include:

* Phone: The DHS Children's Medical Unit (CMED) can take applications over the phone, please call 503-945-5720 or 503-947-2598.

* Email: Applications can be requested or submitted via email 5508.c-med@state.or.us.

* Mail: Applications are also available online on the DHS Independent Living Program website; look for FFCY Medical Program Referral Form. To submit application print, complete and mail application to CMED, 500 Summer Street NE, E-69, Salem, Oregon 97301

* Fax: Completed applications can be faxed to 503-945-7032