400,000 Virginians have enrolled in Medicaid due to expansion
Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services has instituted policies to increase access to care during pandemic.
More than 400,000 adults have now enrolled in the state’s Medicaid program since Virginia expanded eligibility in January 2019, Gov. Ralph Northam and the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services (DMAS) announced Friday.
“We could never envision that we would reach this milestone amid a historic health emergency, but the timing is a reminder of the importance of state leaders’ decision to expand this vital program,” said DMAS Director Karen Kimsey. “Medicaid is an essential tool in the commonwealth’s response to COVID-19. Thousands of individuals are experiencing the loss of employment and insurance, and we want them to know that we are here to help them access health care during this critical time.”
Virginia expanded eligibility to Medicaid in January 2019. More than 383,000 newly eligible adults have used their coverage to obtain health care services, according to DMAS.
“We are all grateful Virginia did expand eligibility so more people can have access to health care at this critical time,” Northam said during a Friday news conference, noting that unemployment in Virginia has skyrocketed in recent weeks due to the crisis.
Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, DMAS initiated a series of policies to increase access to care for its 1.5 million members, including:
- Ensuring members do not inadvertently lose coverage due to lapses in paperwork or a change in circumstances; this policy includes the continuation of all coverage renewals and eligibility redeterminations.
- Eliminating co-pays for all Medicaid- and Family Access to Medical Insurance Security (FAMIS)-covered services, including COVID-19 testing and treatment.
- Allowing Medicaid members to obtain a 90-day supply of many routine prescriptions.
- Waiving preapproval requirements for many critical medical services, and enacting automatic extensions for approvals that are already in place.
- Enabling Medicaid providers and members to make greater use of telehealth.