Hundreds of thousands sign up under expanded Medicaid program

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RICHMOND, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Hundreds of thousands of Virginia residents now have health care insurance coverage thanks to the expansion of the state's Medicaid program.

Governor Ralph Northam announced Wednesday that more than 300,000 Virginians are now enrolled in the expanded program, with more than two-thirds of new enrollees saying they went without insurance coverage last year.

"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 Northam. "The tremendous progress we have made with enrolment shines a light on the need for quality, affordable health care in Virginia and across our country. We will continue to get the work out to newly eligible individuals who may be unaware that the rules for health coverage have changed."

According to a release, coverage is now available to men and women between the ages of 19 and 64 who are not eligible for Medicare and who meet certain income requirements, which vary by family size.

The Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services tracks enrollment.

Secretary of Health and Human Resources Daniel Carey, MD, says more than 229,000 newly eligible adults have now been able to go to a doctor, fill a prescription medication, or receive some other health services due to the expansion.

He also says the expansion is addressing urgent health needs for thousands of people with chronic conditions, including hypertension, diabetes, substance abuse disorder, and cancer.

Last June, Northam signed a two-year state budget that expanded Medicaid eligibility for adults after working with a coalition of lawmakers to create a plan enabling care providers to get $2.4 billion in federal funding over two years in return for services to new Medicaid members.

For more information about coverage, eligibility rules and enrollment, click on the link in the Related Links box or call (855) 242-8282.

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