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Virginia Medicaid: How to check if you’re still enrolled

Vehicles driver near the entrance to a large building. A sign above the entrance reads "EMERGENCY"
Crixell Matthews
VPM News
Vehicles drive near the entrance to the VCU Medical Center Emergency Department in downtown Richmond.

Find health insurance eligibility and other coverage options.

Jump to the instructions on renewing your Virginia Medicaid coverage.

Virginia Medicaid is in the process of reviewing if the 2 million people covered by the program are still eligible for their free, government-provided health care.

So far, the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services has made determinations for about one-third of those cases — and disenrolled about 140,000 Virginians, according to data from the department.

The unwinding process is expected to continue roughly through May 2024. It’s a return to regular eligibility checks after three years of continuous enrollment during the COVID-19 pandemic’s formal public health emergency.

During continuous enrollment U.S. uninsured rates shrank to their lowest ever at about 8%, but now projections forecast them to rise as more than 4.5 million people have been removed from Medicaid rolls around the country.

Renewing Virginia Medicaid health insurance

You can find out if you’re still on Medicaid by calling Cover Virginia at 1-855-242-8282 or your local Department of Social Services. Coverage will either be renewed, pending redetermination or closed.

If it is pending, there are three ways to renew.

1. Mail it in

All Virginians on Medicaid should have received a renewal packet in the mail. Filling out the packet and either mailing them back or taking it to a local Department of Social Services office completes the Medicaid renewal process.

2. Check online

Go to and select "Renew my benefits." You can find a breakdown of how to complete this on Cover Virginia’s website.

3. Call Cover Virginia

You can also complete renewal by calling Cover Virginia at 1-888-221-1590.

The packets sent to Medicaid recipients list an end date for coverage if they don’t renew. Medicaid recipients who do renew by the listed end date won’t experience a lapse in coverage.

Cover Virginia and the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services did not respond to VPM News' requests for comment by publication.

Even if that date has passed, you’re not out of luck, according to Sara Cariano of the Virginia Poverty Law Center: “[T]here is a 90-day grace period after the coverage has ended where someone can complete that renewal package, submit it, and, if found eligible, the coverage will be reinstated back to the date that it was terminated.”

That coverage can also cover medical expenses incurred during the grace period.

Additionally, if current Medicaid recipients are found ineligible, they can appeal that determination within 30 days or re-apply.

According to Cariano, people shouldn't feel discouraged if they’re confused by the process. In addition to being the deputy director of the VPLC’s Center for Healthy Communities, she also works as a senior health policy analyst with Enroll Virginia, a program that helps people looking for health insurance.

“Our job is really there just to help people with the process,” Cariano said. “You can call us with questions if you're just trying to figure something out. Or you can call us and say, ‘I'd really like an appointment, I need someone to sit down and just do this with me.’ And anything in between.”

You can call Enroll Virginia at 1-888-392-5132.

In the end, if Medicaid recipients are found ineligible, they also have other options.

Disenrolled? Here are other health insurance options

For many people, the best option for getting health coverage after losing Medicaid is the insurance some workplaces offer, often called “employer-sponsored plans.”

Contact your employer to find out if you’re eligible.

Virginians older than 65 and some with disabilities may qualify for care through Medicaid’s sister program, Medicare. (It is possible to be enrolled in both Medicaid and Medicare if you meet the eligibility requirements for both programs.)

Similarly, some children whose families have lost Medicaid may be eligible for the Children’s Health Insurance Program — commonly called CHIP. Eligibility guidelines can be found here.

Cariano said that the CHIP program for children and pregnant people has the benefit of higher income caps than Medicaid, meaning more people are eligible.

And for people not covered by those options, plans through the Affordable Care Act’s insurance marketplace,, are another option

While there are no longer fines for being uninsured in the U.S., Cariano said it proves to be the most expensive option for many people by putting them at higher risk of medical debt and longer-term health problems.

“Folks also tend to avoid care when they don't have coverage,” Cariano said. “And so that could lead to worse health outcomes when you're ignoring something until it gets so bad you have to go to the emergency department.”

For people in that situation, Cariano said another option is the commonwealth’s free care services. (Another list from 2016 is available through the Internet Archive.)

“I will say Virginia has really wonderful federally qualified health centers and free clinics. And so if someone does find themselves in a situation where they need care, and they don't have coverage, those are a really great place to start.”

Why are people being 'unwound' from Medicaid?

Many of the people removed from Virginia’s Medicaid program were removed because they moved out of state, got insurance through a new job, earned more than 138% of the federal poverty level or died.

But for Cariano and other health care advocates, the problem is why others were removed.

“Maybe they didn't respond [to the renewal packet] because they didn't realize they had to or didn't get that packet, and they are, in fact, still eligible but losing that coverage,” she said.

“Unfortunately, a lot of people do find out that they've lost coverage at the doctor's office or at the pharmacy.”

People kicked off for “procedural” reasons face the highest impacts of Medicaid unwinding — both financially and for their health.

“For anyone who is in the course of treatment, or getting long-term care, or just has an emergency episode when they're uncovered, that can be really financially impactful and really impactful upon their health,” Cariano said.

In Virginia, more than one-third of removals were because people did not complete the application — the most common reason for procedural removals — according to DMAS data from June.

The 43% total procedural removal rate in Virginia is low compared to the 75% national average, according to Kaiser Family Foundation data from this month.

Some groups are being hit harder than others. In the lead-up to unwinding, a Department of Health and Human Services analysis found that people of color would be hardest hit by unwinding. Virginia hasn’t published data on the racial and ethnic demographics of people disenrolled from Medicaid by this process.

Children have also been impacted disproportionately. People under 18 make up 36% of all people who lost coverage despite only making up 22% of the state’s population.

Cariano said Virginia had been making significant strides prior to unwinding and cited the lowering uninsured rate that came from Medicaid expansion.

Now, according to her, this progress might reverse: “We really worry about a lot of those gains being wound back and vulnerable people being put in an even more vulnerable position.”

How to renew Virginia Medicaid coverage

The Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services began its unwinding process in March 2023; its website includes a list of guidelines in English and Spanish for people navigating this process.

Find your health insurance coverage status and eligibility

  • Call Cover Virginia (1-855-242-8282 | TDD: 1-888-221-1590)
    • You will need the member’s case number, date of birth and the last 4 digits of their Social Security number.
    • Open Monday–Friday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon. Closed Sundays and state holidays.
  • Contact a local Department of Social Services office
    • You will need the member’s case number, date of birth and the last 4 digits of their Social Security number.

If you are still eligible for Virginia Medicaid coverage

  • Visit the state-run CommonHelp website to renew your benefits.
  • Re-enroll with Cover Virginia (1-855-242-8282 | TDD: 1-888-221-1590), which also offers resources for application assistance
  • If you received a Virginia Medicaid renewal packet in the mail, check the end date for renewing your coverage. You may still be able to complete the packet and mail it in.

If you're losing Medicaid and need new health insurance

Henry Brannan covers rural health care in the Shenandoah Valley and Charlottesville area for VPM News and WMRA. The position is in partnership with Report for America.