Coverage for Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has provisions that extend health coverage to children, adolescents, and young adults including refugees.

Coverage for Children and Adolescents
A pre-existing condition is a physical or mental health condition, disability, or illness that a person has before they enroll in a health plan.  Since September 2010, all new insurance plans and existing group health plans are prohibited by the ACA from denying coverage to children under age 19 on the basis of pre-existing conditions.  The ACA helps children access health care coverage regardless of their medical history and any pre-existing conditions.

The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), a state and federal partnership program, currently provides low-cost health insurance coverage for children in families who do not qualify for Medicaid coverage and cannot afford to purchase private health insurance. Under the Affordable Care Act, CHIP will continue to provide affordable, quality coverage to many children including those in refugee families.  From 2015 to 2019, ACA will increase federal funding for CHIP.

Coverage for Young Adults
Since September 2010, the Affordable Care Act requires health plans and issuers to offer dependent coverage for children until the age of 26. Both married and unmarried children qualify for this coverage under their parent’s health insurance. This rule applies to all private health plans and employer-based plans.

Starting in 2014, Medicaid coverage will extend to young adults up to age 26 who have aged out of the foster care system at 18 years old, including those aging out of the Unaccompanied Refugee Minors program.

For more information, view RHTAC’s ACA briefs.