Facilitating Access to Health Care Coverage for Juvenile Justice-Involved Youth
Published Mar 14, 2014, NASHP: Sarabeth Zemel, Kimm Mooney Diane Justice, Katie Baudouin
Youth involved in the juvenile justice system have extensive physical and behavior health needs. The majority have at least one mental health condition1 and substance abuse is also very common.2 Findings from a study of youth in residential settings found that two-thirds of youth in custody have a healthcare need.
Medicaid can be important for juvenile justice-involved youth in both financing needed health care services and accessing needed care. Through opportunities presented under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), many Medicaid agencies are in the process of revamping their eligibility information technology systems and re-examining enrollment processes. With the establishment of the health insurance exchanges, states are also launching extensive outreach and consumer assistance programs for both public and private coverage. In light of these activities, it is an opportune time for states to adopt eligibility, enrollment, and outreach processes that improve access to health coverage for juvenile justice-involved youth.
This report outlines federal and state eligibility, enrollment, and outreach strategies that can help facilitate seamless coverage for system-involved youth. Adoption of these initiatives has the potential to improve the lives of juvenile justice-involved youth and their families, increase their ability to remain in the community, and ultimately, reduce recidivism. Key to the success of these strategies will be ongoing collaboration between the multiple state and federal agencies that interact with the juvenile justice population.
The federal and state strategies outlined in this report were informed by policy research conducted by the National Academy for State Health Policy through its Models for Change project, funded by the MacArthur Foundation, and by discussions from an in-person meeting held in July 2013.