***For Immediate Release***
May 11, 2017
Contact, Jeff Sheldon
Nebraska Appleseed Communications Director
Office: (402) 438-8853
Mobile: (402) 840-7289
Court ruling a victory for Nebraska youth formerly in foster care
Judge rules young Nebraskan eligible for Medicaid coverage
LINCOLN — Wednesday, Lancaster County District Court Judge Susan Strong ruled in favor of Azar Webb, a 22-year-old Omaha college student who was being denied Medicaid eligibility by the State of Nebraska.
The ruling in the case of Webb v. Phillips, makes clear young adults like Azar, that exit Nebraska’s foster care system, have a legal right to Medicaid coverage to age 26, just like their peers who are able to stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26.
In the decision, Judge Strong ruled that federal law makes Azar eligible for Medicaid coverage until he turns 26 and ordered the State to reimburse him for medical bills that should have been covered by Medicaid.
“Finishing college, getting a job, and giving back to my hometown all would be much harder if I could not get the medical coverage I need to be as healthy as I can be. I’m very grateful for this ruling because it puts me in the best position to achieve all of those dreams,” Webb said. “Someday, I hope to be an architect and literally help build my community’s future. I’m a step closer to these goals today because of this decision.”
“Over the course of this case, we’ve come to know Azar as the kind of bright, hard-working, young Nebraskan that will be an extraordinary leader in his community,” Nebraska Appleseed Legal Director Robert McEwen said. “I was fortunate enough to be on my parents’ insurance when I was in college, but Azar, and other youth that age out of foster care, do not have that luxury for obvious reasons. We are overjoyed that Azar now has the opportunity to finish college without the prospect of substantial medical debt constantly looming over him, but more importantly, he now has access to the medical care he needs so he can focus on getting his degree and living the full, promising life we have no doubt awaits him.”
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