NO. 159. AN ACT RELATING TO SERVICES FOR TRANSITIONAL YOUTH.
It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:
Sec. 1. LEGISLATIVE INTENT
The general assembly finds that the services provided to youths ages 18–22 who are transitioning from state custody to adulthood are insufficient and do not support youths in becoming self-sufficient adults. It is the intent of the general assembly to provide necessary and essential transitional services to these youths up to age 22 to assist them in becoming self-sufficient adults.
Sec. 2. 33 V.S.A. § 1901(d) and (e) are added to read:
(d) The agency of human services shall adopt rules and procedures pursuant to chapter 25 of Title 3 for automatically assessing any child whose eligibility for Medicaid, a Medicaid waiver program, or Dr. Dynasaur is threatened to determine whether the child is eligible under a different eligibility category or public health care program and for completing such assessment in time to avoid interruption in the child’s coverage.
(e) The secretary of human services shall adopt or amend regulations to ensure, to the extent permitted under federal law, that a college student taking medical leave who applies for VHAP or another Medicaid waiver program has his or her eligibility determined on the basis of the student's income only, and not the parent's income, even if the student receives room and board from his or her parents. If necessary, the agency shall seek an amendment to the Global Commitment to Health Medicaid Section 1115 waiver to modify eligibility for this group.
Sec. 3. COORDINATION OF INITIATIVES; TRANSITIONAL YOUTHS
The department for children and families shall assess what efforts, task forces, and initiatives are being undertaken in government, the judiciary, communities, and other public or private groups on issues relating to youths ages 18–22 who are transitioning from state custody. The department shall develop a plan for coordinating these efforts on transitional youths, shall combine the recommendations from the task forces on youth issues related to the judiciary, foster care, and higher education, and shall report those recommendations to the house committee on human services and the senate committee on health and welfare no later than January 15, 2007. The department’s plans and recommendations shall be consistent with the policy expressed in Sec. 1 of this act.
Sec. 4. TRANSITIONAL YOUTHS; SERVICES STUDY
(a) The agency of human services, in consultation with the department of education, shall analyze current law and regulation regarding Medicaid eligibility for young adults ages 18–22 and shall report on the following:
(1) current Medicaid eligibility requirements;
(2) how the state currently administers Medicaid for youths, including the type of outreach that has been done to assure a full opportunity for enrollment;
(3) an estimate of the percentage of eligible youths who are enrolled;
(4) additional options available to increase access to Medicaid coverage for all categories of potentially eligible youths over the age of 18, including but not limited to the developmentally disabled youths who are not in custody, and the cost of each option;
(5) the cost of extending health care coverage through Medicaid, the Vermont health access plan, Dr. Dynasaur, or another state-funded health care program solely to an individual under the custody of the state on his or her 18th birthday for the period of time the individual attends college or postsecondary training.
(b) The agency of human services shall study the costs and benefits of providing necessary and essential transitional services up to age 22 for a youth who has been in the custody of the state; has a developmental disability and has been receiving state‑funded services or services under an individualized education program (IEP) on the youth’s 18th birthday; or has been receiving state‑funded services for severe emotional disturbance on his or her 18th birthday in order to assist the youth in becoming a self-sufficient adult.
(c) The agency of human services shall study the costs and benefits to families whose child reaches the age of majority and attends a postsecondary education or training program of continuing Reach Up assistance under chapter 11 of Title 33 while the child is a full-time student. The study shall include a financial analysis, the feasibility of using TANF funds for this purpose, and any other issues relating to the use of federal funds for this purpose.
(d) The reports under this section shall be provided to the senate committee on health and welfare and the house committee on human services no later than January 15, 2007.
Sec. 5. OUTREACH
The office of Vermont health access shall provide information on the eligibility of children under age 21 for Medicaid under the Ribicoff eligibility category to community organizations, to designated agencies, and over the internet.
Sec. 6. VHAP ELIGIBILITY RULES
The secretary shall, as reasonably necessary, clarify all regulations concerning VHAP eligibility for college students, either through amended regulations or issuance of interpretive bulletins.
Approved: May 18, 2006
The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street