The Affordable Care Act and Adolescent Health

There are a number of resources available to help understand the impact of the Affordable Care Act on adolescent health.  Among others, the National Adolescent and Young Adult Health Information Center (NAHIC) and the Center for Adolescent Health & the Law (CAHL) have a policy brief and an accompanying fact sheet on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and vulnerable populations of adolescents and young adults, including youth in and aging out of foster care, youth involved in juvenile and criminal justice systems, and homeless youth.. Additional information about these two documents is available on the NAHIC website.

NCYL also has several articles available in Youth Law News that discuss the Affordable Care Act and children, including an article on insurance confidentiality for young people enrolled on plans held in another's name.

October 15, 2012 — Teens who are vaccinated against the human papillomavirus are not more likely than non-vaccinated teens to engage in sexual behavior, according to a study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics, the AP/Sacramento Bee reports.

Youth Law News  January-March 2011
The federal Title X family planning program makes family planning and related health services available for free or at low cost to eligible individuals, including adolescents, in every state. The statutes and regulations implementing the program include consent and confidentiality rules designed to reduce barriers that limit adolescents' access to care and to protect the privacy of those who choose to receive services. In some states, these rules provide greater access to confidential family planning services than what is available under state law.

California Governor Brown recently signed AB 499 (2011), a bill that increases youth access to critical preventive health care.   AB 499, which will take effect on January 1, 2012, will allow youth age 12 and older to consent to medical care related to the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) on their own accord.  California law already allows minors 12 and older to consent to diagnosis and treatment of STDs; AB 499 now means minors will be able to consent to preventive care as well.   This is important because there are some STDs that are preventable but not curable and once someone is infected, these STDs can have devastating and sometimes deadly impact.   Under the new law youth will be able to access needed services before lives are in danger.  Read more

The Bay Citizen, Aug 1, 2011
The Health and Human Services Department announced new guidelines Monday that will require health insurance companies to provide no-cost birth control and other preventive services for women, starting in August 2012.

The New York Times, July 19, 2011
A leading medical advisory panel recommended on Tuesday that all insurers be required to cover contraceptives for women free of charge as one of several preventive services under the new health care law.

SB 543, which took effect on January 1, 2011, allows children age 12 and older to consent to their own mental health care if a mental health professional deems them mature enough to intelligently participate in treatment.  California law already allowed minors to consent to mental health counseling but only if they are in danger of seriously harming themselves or others, or are victims of child abuse.   Under the new law – the Mental Health Services for At-Risk Youth Act (SB 543) – youth can access needed services before lives are in danger.  Read More.

Photo: Harry Cutting

When Teens Disclose Dating Violence to Health Care Providers:  A Guide to Confidentiality and Reporting Laws

Manuals are available for the following states:

    School Board Votes Unanimously to Let Students Leave School for Confidential Medical Appointments, Bringing District Into Compliance with State Law

    California’s teen pregnancy rate declined by 52 percent between 1992 and 2005, the steepest drop registered by any state over that period—and far above the national decline of 37 percent. Public health experts credit this record decline to California’s aggressive and evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention efforts dating back to the 1990s. 

    Consent to Treatment for Youth in the Juvenile Justice System: California Law

    This manual describes consent to treatment law for minors involved in the California juvenile justice system, including consent to mental health services, psychotropic medication and reproductive health care, among other topics.  download PDF

    A similar manual describes consent to treatment law for minors involved in the California Foster Care System.  Download PDF.

    NCYL Senior Attorney Rebecca Gudeman was interviewed on Fox 40 Sacramento about students' right to confidential medical leave from school in the San Juan (CA) Unified School District. 

    One in Four Teens has a Sexually Transmitted Infection

    A study by the Centers for Disease Control released March 11th 2008 estimates that one in four (26 percent) young women between the ages of 14 and 19 in the United States – or 3.2 million teenage girls – is infected with at least one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases (human papillomavirus (HPV), chlamydia, herpes simplex virus, and trichomoniasis). To read  an article about teen access to the HPV vaccine, click here.

    A study published August 1st 2008 by the Centers for Disease Control found that the percentage of  high schoolers who are sexually active or have ever engaged in sexual intercourse has gone down since 1991.  Unfortunately, the same study found no reduction in the prevalence of risky sexual behavior.  The New York Times suggests that this may be one reason there has been an increase in diagnosed HIV and AIDS cases among teens 15 to 19 years old.  To read the New York Times article, click here.  To see the CDC report, click here.

    Question of the Month

    May a California teen ever obtain medical care related to the prevention of a sexually transmitted disease on his or her own and without parent involvement?    

    For the answer to this and more FAQ's click here


    Click here to receive news & updates from teenhealthrights.org.

    Looking for resources for teens?  Click here

    Pocket Card: CA Minor Consent Laws

    Foster Ed Connect

    A site for all people helping children and youth in California's foster care system succeed in school.