Budget amendments would expand Medicaid access for immigrants

Virginia Mercury

Virginia’s rules on allowing legal immigrants to access Medicaid coverage are twice as onerous as most other states, according to a new report from the Commonwealth Institute.

While 44 states require immigrants to legally reside in the country for five years before, in Virginia the individual must have worked 40 quarters in the U.S., or 10 years.

Budget amendments before both the House and Senate would eliminate that requirement. They estimate that the change would bring down $16.55 million from the federal government, and cost Virginia $6.55 million.

“This state cost estimate does not include the savings that would likely occur from the state not having to reimburse expensive emergency room visits by legal immigrants who are ineligible for full Medicaid coverage,” the report states. “It is time for Virginia to end the 40-quarters rule for lawful permanent residents and ensure their access to health care on the same basis of other Virginians.”