More than 11,000 residents of Prince William County have enrolled in Medicaid since Virginia lawmakers voted to expand the healthcare program a year ago. Another 1,156 people have enrolled in Medicaid in Manassas City, while 449 have enrolled in Manassas Park.
The new coverage is available to men and women ages 19 through 64 who meet income requirements and are not eligible for Medicare.
Gov. Ralph Northam (D) announced last week that more than 300,000 additional adults have enrolled in Medicaid statewide since Jan. 1. The General Assembly voted in 2018 to expand Medicaid to cover those making up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. Before the expansion, even disabled adults had to make less than $10,000 a year to qualify for Medicaid, and non-disabled, childless adults were not eligible no matter how little they made.
“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,” Northam said. “The tremendous progress we have made with enrollment shines a light on the need for quality, affordable health care in Virginia and across our country.”
Of the 300,000 new members, 220,584 fell below the federal poverty level, and over 100,000 of the new members are parents, according to the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance.
“We have learned a great deal from our new members, including the financial struggles they faced before receiving coverage. Nearly two-thirds tell us that they were forced to go without needed medical care in the year before Medicaid expansion. Today, they have greater stability in their health and finances,” said Department of Medical Assistance Services Director Jennifer S. Lee.
The state budget that expanded Medicaid eligibility was signed by Northam in June 2018 and enabled Virginia health care providers to receive $2.4 billion in federal funds over two years in return for medical services to new Medicaid members.
The Greater Prince William Community Health Center has been awarded a grant to address an influx of new patients since Medicaid was expanded. The Virginia Health Care Foundation, a nonprofit private-public organization, awarded the health center $128,068 to add one full-time nurse practitioner to its staff.
The center said the increase in new patients has caused an uptick in wait times for new appointments, but that the grant would address that by increasing the number of medical providers.
“We are delighted to invest in the Greater Prince William Community Health Center’s continued growth,” said Deborah Oswalt, Virginia Health Care Foundation’s executive director. “It is clear that the community is committed to the clinic and that there is a strong need for additional capacity.”
The General Assembly must vote to include Medicaid expansion in the new budget they approve in 2020 for the program to continue.