Governor Ralph Northam speaks before the signing.

Up to 400,000 Virginians who are in the coverage gap will soon have access to affordable health care coverage. Coverage will extend to help people who previously earned too much to qualify for Medicaid but could not afford health insurance, childless, adults, and others. This expansion will also increase jobs in Virginia by about 12,000 positions. The bill will save Virginia approximately $370 million dollars in the next two years alone. The money saved can be put towards mental health services as well as teacher, law enforcement, and behavioral staff salary increases.

Virginia’s Medicaid program will be available starting January 1, 2019 for adults age 19 to 64 that earn up to 138% of the poverty line yearly to be eligible for low-priced health coverage, provided they are not already in or eligible for Medicare. For an individual with a disability or a childless adult, this means he or she can receive coverage if they make at or under $16,754 a year or $1,397 a month. For a family of two, $22,715 is the yearly salary that qualifies for coverage or $1,894 a month. After reaching eight people family limit of $58,485 salary at the family size of eight, the limit is increased by $5, 962 per person.  Some services that are covered are: doctor, hospital, and emergency services, as well as laboratory services, and family planning, maternity, and newborn care. It also includes home health services, behavioral services, medical equipment, rehabilitative services, and long term care and support. Additionally, preventive wellness services and chronic disease management services are covered too. For more information on Medicaid coverage requirements, please click here. To enroll in updates from the Virginia Department of Social Services, click here.

Ralph Northam signs the bill.

The Medicaid Expansion bill passed on May 31, bringing coverage to almost 400,000 more Virginians. The federal budget pays for 90% of the bill, leaving Virginia with only 10% of the cost. This saves the state $422 million dollars. This has been a six plus year effort. After numerous attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, people started seeing Medicaid expansion as a separate issue from party politics.  AARP Virginia has concerns about some provisions of the Medicaid expansion plan – including a work requirement and lock-out periods that could provide unnecessary hurdles to obtaining coverage.  On June 7th, Governor Ralph Northam signed the bill into law, and newly qualified Virginians will be able to sign up for it on January 1st, 2019.  Click here to see footage of the signing.