The Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC) has released an analysis: Access in Brief: Behavioral Health Services for Youth in Foster Care. The report is an analysis of the experience of adolescents aged 12–17 who reported staying overnight in foster care in the past 12 months. The report and research examine selected characteristics, certain behavioral health conditions, and access to services and compares the experience of youth with Medicaid or CHIP to that of youth with private coverage where possible.
The report indicates that 63.5 percent of non-institutionalized youth aged 12–17 who stayed overnight in foster care were enrolled in Medicaid or CHIP. Many of these youth experience behavioral health conditions and receive treatment at high rates. More than a quarter of these youth reported experiencing a major depressive episode (MDE) at some point in their lifetime and nearly one in five reported having an SUD in the past year. Access to non-specialty mental health treatment was high and Medicaid and CHIP beneficiaries generally received mental health services at similar rates as their peers with private coverage.
The report stated that Medicaid and CHIP covered nearly two-thirds of adolescents in foster care. From 2015–2019, noninstitutionalized youth aged 12–17 who stayed overnight in foster care in the past 12 months were significantly more likely to be enrolled in Medicaid or CHIP (63.5 percent) than private coverage (23.1 percent) Children and youth who stayed overnight in foster care were significantly less likely to be white (41.5 percent) than their peers with private coverage (60.7 percent). They also found that between 2015–2019, more than three-quarters (76 percent) of non-institutionalized youth aged 12–17 covered by Medicaid or CHIP reported moving at least one time in the past 12 months and 17 percent reported three or more moves.
Of these young people 41.6 percent reported receiving mental health services from education sources such as a school social worker or school psychologist. Youth covered by Medicaid or CHIP and those with private insurance reported accessing school-based mental health services at similar rates.
The Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC) is a non-partisan legislative branch agency that provides policy and data analysis and makes recommendations to Congress, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It was created through the ACA.