Over 20,000 Virginians lose Medicaid coverage a month into unwinding

Nearly 200,000 Medicaid members who have been reviewed so far have kept their coverage

By: - May 11, 2023 12:05 am

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Since the start of April, over 20,000 Virginians have lost Medicaid coverage as part of the state’s return to normal enrollment following the end of the COVID-19 federal public health emergency. 

For the past three years, anyone who was enrolled in Medicaid was allowed to keep their coverage regardless of whether or not they still met eligibility requirements. 

According to data from the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services’ Medicaid unwinding renewal dashboard, nearly 200,000 members who have been reviewed so far have kept their coverage. 

Virginia has 12 months to determine the eligibility for the nearly 2 million members who have yet to undergo the renewal process, plus an additional two months afterward to complete outstanding issues.

According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, approximately 300,000 Virginia residents who rely on Medicaid could have their coverage dropped by next year. 

The renewal process will begin two months before a resident’s case renewal month, which can vary depending on when they initially enrolled in Medicaid. 

For example, according to the DMAS renewal calendar, if a person’s case renewal month was supposed to be November 2021, their new renewal month would be October 2023. The renewal process would then start August 2023. A resident who doesn’t know their renewal date can contact their local Department of Social Services or Cover Virginia

Residents who aren’t automatically renewed will receive a renewal form that includes guidelines on what information Virginia needs to determine their eligibility. Those who have lost coverage because they failed to renew by not submitting the form or all needed information have 90 days after their case was closed to send it in for review without needing to reapply. Once all requested information is reviewed, the state will notify the resident via a letter in the mail if they are still eligible for coverage or not. 

The letter notifying residents they are no longer eligible for coverage contains information on next steps and how to file an appeal if they think a mistake has been made. These residents – except for those who have failed to renew – could also get a referral for Federal Marketplace insurance, which they can sign up for within 60 days after losing health coverage or anytime during the annual open enrollment period, Nov. 1 through Jan. 15. Those who no longer qualify for Virginia Medicaid can also buy health insurance through Enroll Virginia.

This story has been updated to clarify what happens in case of failure to renew coverage. 


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Meghan McIntyre

Meghan McIntyre is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University with a degree in print and online journalism, where she received a faculty award for her work. She has stories covering Virginia government and politics published in various outlets across the state through Capital News Service, a course in the Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture at VCU. She was also a previous news intern at VPM and briefly freelanced for The Farmville Herald and The Suffolk News-Herald.