Free Care Rule

Federal policy change provides new opportunities for school health services

In 2014, the federal government reversed a long standing policy that impeded the ability of school districts to get reimbursed for the school health services they provide to students (called the “Free Care Rule”). This reversal removes a major barrier for schools to obtain federal Medicaid funding for student health services and creates an opportunity for schools to expand the role they play in improving the health of low-income students. The change in federal policy could open the door for schools to reimagine their role in the health care delivery system and augment their efforts on behalf of children.

Resources for Schools

  • NEW REPORT: Policy Considerations for California Following the 2014 Reversal of the Medicaid “Free Care Rule”
    With our partners, The California Endowment and Harbage Consulting, we are excited to release a report that offers insight into California’s implementation of this change and highlights new possibilities to expand the role of schools in contributing to broad health system transformation. Schools have regular access to children, provide education and preventive, ongoing, and follow-up services, and are trusted by children and parents.