PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Changes to health care coverage in Virginia could end up costing some of the poorest people in the state, if they are not careful.
10 On Your Side has the information you need to know to get coverage and keep your cash.
Medicaid expansion in Virginia means an estimated 30,000 more people in Hampton Roads will be covered for health care next year using Medicaid.
The expansion will essentially affect two groups of people, according to Optima Health Vice President of Government Programs Megan Padden: the working poor, who have never been able to get insurance, and those who have been receiving subsidies to help pay their premiums.
If you fall into one of these groups here’s what you need to do. “It’s really simple, go to the exchange, confirm your current income based on where you are today,” Padden said.
Just type in how much you earn on healthcare.gov. Padden told WAVY.com that an individual making $16,000 or $17,000 a year should qualify for Medicaid. If you do qualify, then go to coverva.org and sign up.
If you are currently receiving a subsidy and you now qualify for Medicaid, Padden said you must go to coverva.org and sign up, then disenroll from the Marketplace because you will lose that subsidy.
“And you wont know that you’ve lost the subsidy until the end of the year when you file your income tax and all of a sudden you find that you owe the federal government money,” said Padden.
You can go online and do this anytime between now and December 7.
You can choose from several companies providing coverage.
Optima is one that is adding a few extra benefits including: adult dental coverage, a healthy food program worth about $125 a month and a GED program.
“We really want people to step up and get out of poverty, that’s really what we’re trying to do,” Padden said.