The Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as ObamaCare, will change the way many Virginians access health insurance. While Virginia did not decide to move forward with a state-run Virginia health insurance exchange, citizens of the state will still be able to apply for new insurance plans using a federally-facilitated exchange. Applications may be submitted through the federal Healthcare.gov site, but can also be made in person with a trained insurance helper, over the phone, or through the mail.
Medicaid Coverage in Virginia
Virginia did not expand its Medicaid eligibility under the ACA in January of 2014, but there is a current debate in the state legislation as to whether or not they should expand. Unfortunately, this may limit the options of some low-income adults as they seek to obtain health insurance coverage.
If Virginia were to expand Medicaid under the ACA, they would gain access to nearly $2 billion in annual federal funds. It is also predicted that this would create several thousands of jobs and provide health insurance to about 350,000 currently uninsured citizens.
Applying for Health Insurance in Virginia
Applying for health insurance can be done in several ways. Many Virginians will already have existing coverage, either through a job, Medicare, Medicaid, or CHIP. Those residents will not need to change their insurance coverage unless they wish to review their options. Virginians who don’t have other insurance have several options for applying for insurance.
- By Mail. You can fill out a paper application and mail it in. This application will be reviewed to see if you are eligible for lower costs on private insurance, and for Medicaid, or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). If you are determined to be eligible for Medicaid or CHIP, the application will be passed to the state agency for review. Instructions for applying by mail can be found on the How to Apply section of the Healthcare.gov site.
- Online. When you visit the Healthcare.gov site, you are able to create an account for your health insurance application. After the account is created, additional information is required to determine your eligibility for lower costs on insurance. If your household files more than one tax return, please be sure to call the Marketplace Call Center for instructions on completing the application. Once the application is complete, you will be able to compare your options and enroll in the plan of your choice.
- By Phone. People who prefer to apply over the phone can call 1-800-318-2596 and a representative will be available to help you. This line is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- In Person. If you prefer to apply in person, every state will have individuals who are trained and certified to help you. They go by several titles, but the Local Help website will help you find someone in your area.