Insurance officials breakdown enrollment changes, 25k people in southwest Virginia could be affected

Insurance enrollment starts Thursday, new changes impact nearly 400k statewide

BEDFORD, Va. – Insurance enrollment kicks off Thursday and changes are coming for nearly 400,000 people in the commonwealth.

It’s that time of year again: the health insurance enrollment period. And big changes are coming for Virginians.

In Bedford County, insurance provider Anthem Blue Cross will be back in 2019 after leaving the market this year. 

“Well, any time people have a choice you’ll see a different in prices and so they’ll be able to pick a plan that best suits their individual needs,” Lois Caliri, certified navigator for Enroll Virginia, said.

Insurance navigators said the commonwealth is now a Medicaid expansion state, which could impact about 25,000 people in southwest Virginia.

This means, adults who are enrolled under the Affordable Care Act and are making below the 138 percent federal poverty level can transition to Medicaid.

But, Caliri said, “If they opt to stay with the Affordable Care Act they can, but they will lose their tax credits they’ll have to pay the full price of the insurance plan."

What does this mean when you go to the doctor or hospital? “Their co-pays maybe--will be-- a lot cheaper. Carilion Franklin Memorial Hospital and Carilion Clinic, Tyler Lee, said, There’s no 'may' about it. The services will still be the exact same care; the quality of care that we strive to give to our community.”

Insurance navigators said after enrolling check your mail constantly because once the commonwealth has chosen a medical provider for you, you only have about 90 days to switch to another medical provider. 

If you need help re-enrolling or have any questions you can contact Lee with Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital and Carilion Clinic, at 540-489-6561.

If you’re applying for Medicaid for the first time, go to www.coverva.org and fill out the applications, or call at 1-855-242-8282,  or go to your local social services department.

For Centra Health customers, representatives said in a statement to 10 News:

“Operationally there will be no difference at our healthcare facilities in 2019. Centra already accepts Medicaid patients and will continue to offer charity care to low income individuals as needed. Residents who already receive services from SNAP or are parents of children enrolled in Medicaid, should be on the lookout for an express Medicaid application in the mail this fall. If someone is a low income adult they can apply over the phone, online, or in person at the local Department of Social Services office starting November 1st. They can also visit, commonhelp.virginia.gov for more information.”

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