UPDATED: 2021 Healthcare for All Virginians Legislative Agenda: Expand Health Coverage Options for Immigrant Communities

The Healthcare for All Virginians (HAV) Coalition consists of close to 100 organizations dedicated to making Virginia a leader in offering affordable, accessible, and quality health coverage options to everyone who lives in the Commonwealth.

The COVID-19 pandemic has put into sharp focus long-standing inequities in health care coverage and access in Virginia and across the country, which have contributed to the higher incidence of the virus in Black and Latinx individuals, as well as in immigrant communities. As we navigate the public health crisis, every policy and funding decision made should move Virginia closer to becoming a place where everyone has the opportunity to not only survive, but thrive.

The following includes HAV’s legislative priorities for the 2021 session by consensus of member organizations (click here for full list), as well as budget amendments and bill numbers for proposed measures that support these priorities:

Increase Access To Health Coverage For Immigrants

  • Extend Medicaid/FAMIS MOMS prenatal coverage to undocumented women who meet all other non-immigration eligibility criteria (Item 312 #1h & 313 #16h — Del. Guzman; Item 312 #1s — Sen. McClellan)
    • This federal option is already in use in 17 other states and would require a CHIP state plan amendment.
    • Extending prenatal coverage would result in net savings for the state ($2.3m in FY22) due to drawing  down a higher federal match rate compared to emergency only services that might otherwise be utilized.
  • Clarify that Medicaid “Emergency Services” specifically cover COVID-19 screening, testing, and all related treatment (HB 2124 & Item 313 #4h — Del. Lopez; Item 313 #36s — Sen. Ebbin)
    • 12 states have elected to cover COVID-19 screening, testing, and all related treatment for any immigrant  who meets financial requirements for Medicaid.
    • This would ensure more people can seek testing and treatment for COVID-19 without concerns of  costs. Providing COVID-19 care to our neighbors with low-incomes will help reduce the spread of the  virus throughout the community.
  • Increase the age that “legally residing” immigrant children can qualify for Medicaid and FAMIS (Item 312 #2h & 313 #28h Del. Sickles)
    • Currently, “legally residing” immigrant children in Virginia qualify for coverage up to the age of 19.  Federal law allows optional coverage to continue up to age 21 allowing for continuity of care and  reducing gaps in health coverage.

HB2124, relating to emergency Medicaid for COVID-19 testing/treatment/vaccination, has officially been referred to Senate Education and Health. Please consider sharing your support for the bill with Senate Ed and Health members.

Budget Sunday – when Virginia’s House and Senate will share their budget proposals – is scheduled for Sunday, February 7th. This means we need to ramp up our outreach efforts! We urge supporters to email Chairman Torian, Chairwoman Howell, Delegate Sickles, and Senator Barker.

Need some help with what to say? In addition to the information shared above, check out the resources below: