CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - A bill that has passed both the state House and the state Senate would give Medicaid coverage to young adults in the foster care system who move to Missouri.
Under the new act, people living in Missouri between the ages of 18 and 26 who have received foster care in another state for at least six months would be eligible for MO HealthNet benefits.
Crissy Mayberry is the executive director of the foster care organization Hope for One More in Jackson, Mo.
According to National Foster Youth Initiative, seven out of 10 girls who are aging out of foster care will be pregnant by the age of 21.
Mayberry said this bill will provide better health outcomes for those young parents.
“Young adults are trying to navigate how to be adults, and learn how to be productive members of society. When you throw in having to worry about health care coverage and medical costs on top of that we are setting them up for failure," Mayberry said. "So this would give them an extra protection so they can get adequate prenatal care and adequate health care for their baby after it’s born.”
Mayberry said another big use for the program would be to help foster kids who move to a new state for college keep their health coverage so they can have access to mental health services and addiction treatment.
“Hopefully other states will get on board too and start passing similar bills,” Mayberry said. “That way we can make sure Missouri’s foster kids can go to other states and still have health care coverage and everyone is working together.”
Senate Bill 514 still needs the final seal of approval from Governor Mike Parson. He has until July 14 to sign it into law.