Take time this holiday to remember Medicaid coverage
As the holiday season affords us increasing opportunities to gather together for special occasions, many of us will have the gift of spending time with healthy family and friends; but unfortunately, this is not true for everyone. It is estimated that we have 2,000 people in the City of Petersburg, 1,200 people in Dinwiddie County, 800 people in the City of Hopewell and likely hundreds more throughout the region, that are currently without healthcare coverage.
Last spring, I was proud to join my colleagues in the General Assembly in passing a budget that expanded Medicaid, with coverage beginning in January 2019. Prior to passing the budget, nearly 400,000 people were either not poor enough to qualify for Medicaid or too poor to qualify for premium subsidies.
Now, — for the first time ever — in Virginia, adults without any children and so many that have long gone without coverage will have affordable health insurance — regardless of where they work, their income, their age, or their health status.
According to the Virginia Department of Health, under the new guidelines, a single adult making at or below $16,750 annually may be eligible. A parent in a family of three with a household income at or below $28,700 may also qualify. And, the new coverage will include preventive care, doctor visits, prescriptions, hospital stays, mental health care and more. New coverage will also include care coordination for individuals with complex medical and behavioral health conditions.
Enrollment for the expanded Medicaid program began on November 1, 2018. While some individuals will be auto-transitioned into the program; if you are a SNAP (food stamp) recipient or are the parents of an enrolled child, you need to submit the express application mailed to you in a yellow envelope.
For everyone else, please visit CoverVA.org for access to the online application, or call the Cover Virginia Call Center at 1-855-2428282 to apply for health coverage by phone.
Equally important, if you are currently receiving a subsidy and you now qualify for Medicaid, you must also sign up, then disenroll from the Marketplace because you will lose that subsidy.
Achieving healthcare coverage for more Virginians was one of my proudest moments as a legislator, because I recognize the hardship that living unhealthy and without access to care can have on an individual and an entire family.
During this holiday season take the time to make sure those closest to you get the care they need and get signed up for Medicaid. If you still have questions, join me on December 3, 2018 at Pathways in Petersburg from 6-7 p.m. for more information on Medicaid expansion and hands-on guidance to get enrolled.
Del. Lashrecse D. Aird represents the 63rd District in the Virginia House of Delegates. The 63rd District includes all of the City of Petersburg and parts of Hopewell, Dinwiddie County, Prince George County and Chesterfield County.