More than 300,000 Virginians have enrolled in Medicaid thanks to expansion
By Keya Vakil
August 1, 2019

More than 300,000 people have signed up for Virginia’s expanded Medicaid program, Gov. Ralph Northam announced on Wednesday.

“Because we expanded the Commonwealth’s Medicaid program, hundreds of thousands of additional Virginians now have access to medical care and an opportunity to lead healthier, more productive lives,” said Governor Northam.

The expansion, which was passed by the General Assembly in 2018 after years of Republican opposition, allows lower-income adults to enroll in Medicaid and get healthcare coverage, often for the first time. 

Nearly 230,000 of the new enrollees have already gone to the doctor, filled a prescription or received some other health service, according to Secretary of Health and Human Resources Daniel Carey, MD.

“Those include 33,000 members with hypertension, 18,800 with diabetes, 16,100 with substance use disorder and 3,300 with cancer. We can see that Medicaid expansion is addressing urgent health needs for these individuals,” Carey said. 

Dr. Jennifer Lee, the director of Virginia’s Department of Medical Assistance Services, highlighting the impact Medicaid expansion had on Virginians, said nearly two-thirds of enrollees told the department they were “forced to go without needed medical care in the year before Medicaid expansion.”

Some of the Virginia Democrats who voted for the expansion took to social media to celebrate the milestone.

The expansion has been particularly beneficial for women, who make up 60% of the 303,768 new enrollees. The program has also helped younger Virginians, as 45% of new enrollees are between the ages of 19-34. 

While people have enrolled all across the state, central Virginia and the Tidewater region have seen particularly high numbers of enrollment and make up 49% of all Virginians who’ve gained coverage.

The new coverage is open to all men and women ages 19 through 64 who are not eligible for Medicare and meet income requirements, which vary by family size.

How do you know if you’re eligible?

If you’re a childless adult or a person with a disability, you may eligible if you earn an annual income of $17,237 or less. If you’re a parent in a family of three, you may be eligible if your household’s total annual income is at or below $29,436. 

If you’re uncertain about your eligibility, you can check if you qualify for Medicaid Expansion at the Cover Virginia website.

  • Keya Vakil

    Keya Vakil is the deputy political editor at COURIER. He previously worked as a researcher in the film industry and dabbled in the political world.

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