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Local woman at the frontlines of Medicaid enrollment as numbers surpass 300,000

Martinsville, VA – More than 4,500 area residents have been enrolled in the new Medicaid health insurance in the past eight months. Part of this accomplishment is the result of the efforts of a hardworking local woman who, as an outreach worker, provides free, one-on-one help to those interested in learning about or applying for this new Medicaid coverage.

She is part of a region-wide campaign by the Virginia Health Care Foundation (VHCF), the Harvest Foundation, and the Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission (TRRC) to help all of those newly eligible apply. A special website created by VHCF, www.signupva.org features 24 local outreach workers, who are serving their communities by providing local residents with application assistance, information about recent changes to Medicaid eligibility, and help with enrollees’ annual Medicaid renewal applications.

“We are proud to support these knowledgeable and dedicated individuals who are helping so many Virginians enroll in this new health insurance,” said VHCF Executive Director Deborah Oswalt. “VHCF understands the important link between health insurance, healthy individuals, and healthy communities.”

The effort aligns with the State’s efforts to promote its new Medicaid coverage. Governor Ralph Northam recently announced that more than 300,000 Virginians had already enrolled in the first seven months of the new coverage. There are approximately 100,000 Virginians who are still eligible, but have not yet signed up for the insurance. Experience from other states indicates local application assisters are often critical to help all those eligible get and stay enrolled.

“Our goal as outreach workers is to help your application for Medicaid go smoothly and to provide assistance every step of the way,” said Ann Walker, who serves as the outreach worker for the Martinsville-Henry County area. “We want to assist as many people as possible and let them know what their options are– whether that be through Medicaid health insurance for themselves, or the state’s FAMIS health insurance for their children.”

“It is amazing that the 300,000 enrollment mark has been reached in such a short amount of time,” said Walker. “I have met some of the hardworking individuals who make up that number. I love the campaign slogan ‘You’ve Earned It. Why Not Use It?’ It highlights the hardworking people in the communities I serve and recognizes that everyone deserves a little backup when they need it.”

Although Walker is based at Martinsville-Henry County Coalition for Health and Wellness, she is available to help anyone and is scheduled to be at several locations throughout the area. Walker can be contacted at (276) 732-0509.

“We are proud to support Ms. Walker as she provides critical outreach to those in our community who are eligible for Medicaid,” said Harvest Foundation President Allyson Rothrock. “We are encouraged by her commitment to Martinsville-Henry County and her ability to positively impact families and individuals in our community. We are fortunate to partner with VHCF and the TRRC to offer her services to the community.”

Virginians between the ages of 19 to 64, who are not eligible for Medicare and meet Medicaid’s new income requirements (found at www.coverva.org/eligibility or through calling Cover Virginia at (855) 242-8282) may be eligible. If someone applied before the new program started on January 1st, the rules have changed and they may be eligible now.

The Virginia Health Care Foundation is a non-profit public/private partnership with a mission to increase access to primary health care for uninsured and medically underserved Virginians.  The Foundation was initiated by the General Assembly and its Joint Commission on Health Care in 1992.   Over the past 20 years, it has funded outreach workers who have successfully helped more than 107,000 children obtain state health insurance. All of VHCF’s grants and programs combined have helped more than 700,000 uninsured Virginians obtain needed health care. For more information about VHCF and its programs, visit www.vhcf.org or call (804) 828-5804.

Patients with Medicaid are welcome at the Coalition’s health centers, Bassett Family Practice and Ridgeway Family Health. 


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