THE BLOG
09/04/2013 01:26 pm ET | Updated Nov 04, 2013

Foster Children and Obamacare: The Exchanges Could Help

According to a 2011 study there were approximately 400,540 American children in foster care. Of that number only 115,000 were eligible for adoption. This is usually based on parental rights. Many parents are unable to care for their children, but are unwilling to release their parental rights to family members or adoptive parents.

What does this have to do with Obamacare? A lot. While children are in foster care they are eligible for health insurance through government programs. The hope is no child will age out of the system, but unfortunately many do.

One of the non-disputed likable aspects of the Affordable Care Act states that children are allowed to remain on their parent's policy until they are 26. This is a huge help to many young adults with parents. However, it does not protect foster children who are released from governmental programs as young adults.

In 2014 the state health insurance exchanges will come into play. Coverage for these young adults is a perfect example of where the exchanges will be incredibly useful. The exchanges, however, are a part of the Affordable Care Act that many state officials have fought against. There is a fear that costs of insurance will rise even though, where the exchanges have been set up, the opposite result has been the case. For many states with the exchanges, the rates for policies are lower than even the federal government expected.

According to this article a 21 year old, non smoker in Maryland could receive the basic health care policy (which covers more than many current basic policies) for as little as $93 a month. That amount could even be subsidized based on that young adult's income.

I read an article by Wendell Potter earlier this week discussing Florida's government choosing for their citizens to pay more for their health insurance in defiance of setting up exchanges under the new law.

When I read his article I became enraged. Why should Floridians suffer? Politics? Yet, for some government officials, who have steady health care coverage despite the new law, partisan politics is all that matters.

I would encourage those reading this article to pay attention to what your state is doing regarding their set up of the state health care exchanges. This is not a topic to be battled after the war is over, this is something we need to talk to our representatives about now. If not for our own sake, for the sake of the many foster children, and uninsurable in this country who will have access to coverage through these exchanges.