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Virginia Begins Accepting Expanded Medicaid Applications

In 2018, the Virginia General Assembly voted for Medicaid expansion, and applications can now be made to the program. We spoke with our local Departments of Social Service to learn more.

Sarah Rexrode, Highland County DSS:

“Medicaid expansion application period started on November 1st. So local Departments of Social Services are able to accept applications for Medicaid expansion, which will cover individuals between the ages of 19 and 64 who are not eligible for Medicare, and who also meet other income and citizenship requirements.

“Medicaid expansion will cover doctor, hospital and emergency services; prescription drugs; laboratory and x-ray services; maternity and newborn care; home health services; behavioral health services, including addiction and recovery treatment services; rehabilitative services, including physical, occupational and speech therapies; family planning services; medical equipment and supplies; preventative and wellness services, including annual wellness exams; immunizations; smoking cessation; and nutritional counseling.”

Jason Miller, Bath County DSS:

“I’m not sure of the total number of states that have expanded – I think it’s around 30+ that, over the last few years have accepted Federal money to expand insurance – basically to those that would not qualify for Medicare or Medicaid, who could not afford private sector insurance. Virginia recently passed expanding Medicaid, and the application period is November, but the actual benefit period will not begin until January. So January 1st, 2019 is when the actual coverage will start – right now it’s just the application process.

“It’s estimated that Virginia is looking at adding somewhere around 400,000 individuals to the expanded Medicaid. So that would be 400,000 more people in Virginia alone with insurance that would not have been able to have insurance without it.”

“There are several ways that an individual can apply for expanded Medicaid: they can apply by calling Cover Virginia at 1-855-242-8282;  they can apply online at www.commonhelp.va.gov; they can apply through their local Department of Social Services; and there are certain individuals who apply through the federally facilitated Marketplace, who can also use that application process.”

“The Common Help website does have a “Am I Eligible” tool on there, that they can enter some generic information – they don’t have to get very specific, with their name, full social security and all that. But the more accurate information they put in in terms of their income, then it will tell them at the end what they would be eligible for, including the Medicaid expansion, and they may also qualify for other benefits. Right now, the only requirement is going to be what Sarah had said, as far as the age and the income. The work component is still about two years away from being implemented.”

“I would just point out that, if an individual does apply between now and January 1, important things to remember are that the coverage will not begin until January 1st. They will not get a card until about the middle to the end of December. And, unlike the Marketplace and other programs that are federally funded, where there’s an enrollment period, this is an open enrollment period. It’s not like you have to apply only between now and January 1st. So it’s ongoing, it’s not just a limited time. And some individuals will actually receive letter saying that they were automatically enrolled – individuals that are receiving Plan First coverage, individuals that are on the GAP coverage – Governor’s Assistance Program – and some individuals who are receiving SNAP, or food stamp benefits that weren’t receiving families’ and children’s Medicaid, they could now be getting the expanded Medicaid.”

“Expanded Medicaid for the month of January will not cover a retroactive period prior to that start date of January 1st, like other forms of Medicaid do.”

“For questions, you can call the Highland County Department of Social services at 540-468-2199 – or for questions in Bath County, you can call 540-839-7271.”

Story By

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Scott Smith

Scott is the News Director for Allegheny Mountain Radio and Station Coordinator and News Reporter for WVLS. Scott’s family has deep roots in Highland County. While he did not grow up here, he spent as much time as possible on the family farm, and eventually moved to Highland to continue the tradition, which he still pursues with his cousin. Unfortunately, farming doesn’t pay all the bills, so he has taken other jobs to support his farming hobby, including pressman/writer for The Recorder, and Ag Projects Coordinator for The Highland Center. He lives in Hightown with wife Michelle and son Ethan, and also is a member of the boards of the Highland-Bath Farm Bureau , Highland Chamber of Commerce and Highland Sheep and Wool Association. In his spare time, he wishes he had more spare time, especially to ride his prized Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

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