With at least 1,600 more residents eligible for the federal Medicaid health insurance program, Louisa County agencies are scrambling to meet the anticipated need.
The Louisa County Department of Human Services will hire two staff to help with new Medicaid applicants who will become eligible for services on Jan. 1. The Virginia General Assembly voted to expand the program last spring after it had declined to do so for several years.
Medicaid is now available to families of three earning up to $28,677, which is 138 percent of the federal poverty level. Previously, the income cutoff $6,900, about 80 percent of the poverty level. Childless adults who were not previously eligible for Medicaid can now earn up to $16,754 and still qualify. Individuals with disabilities, who could not exceed an income threshold of $9,700 before, can now earn up to the same amount as other adults.
The state gave Louisa $117,265 to pay for the new hires and related expenses, according to Janice Allen, the county’s human services director. In next year’s budget, the county will be responsible for a portion of these workers’ salaries.
The human services department currently has 14 staff who process benefits for eligible residents, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF) and others. Some people have been eligible for these programs but not Medicaid, until now.
This is a partial article. Read the full story in The Central Virginian’s Nov. 29, 2018 issue.
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