SignUpNow Outreach
Communities Connecting Kids with Health Coverage
Spring 2010
Welcome to the Spring electronic edition of the SignUpNow Outreach Newsletter. SignUpNow (SUN) is an initiative of the Virginia Health Care Foundation (VHCF) that seeks to increase enrollment in Virginia's FAMIS Programs for children and pregnant women. This issue includes information on the Foundation's new Project Connect grantees, several important policy changes to the FAMIS programs, new SignUpNow training dates and more. Please share this newsletter with colleagues and encourage them to register to receive SignUpNow Outreach.
In This Issue
National Healthcare News
Project Connect Expansion
Policy Changes
Did You Know? More Managed Care Changes
SignUpNow Workshops

National Healthcare News

Provided by Jill Hanken, Virginia Poverty Law Center 
It's been an historic time for health care reform! The Congress-approved health care bill (H.R. 3590) will provide health coverage to 32 million uninsured individuals. While many improvements to our healthcare system will be gradually and thoughtfully put in place, there are some very important changes that will take effect beginning this year such as:
Young adults will be allowed to stay on their parent's policies until they are 26.
Insurance companies will no longer be able to impose lifetime limits or restrictive annual limits, nor can they drop coverage when someone becomes sick.
Children with insurance no longer can be denied coverage for a pre-existing condition. 
A new high-risk pool will be developed for adults who have been uninsured for 6 months and who have preexisting conditions. 
Seniors no longer will pay a copay or deductible for preventive care under Medicare (starting in 2011) and will start to see some early relief from the Medicare drug benefit's "doughnut hole." 
States are now required to "hold steady" when it comes to providing Medicaid and CHIP coverage -- they must at least maintain the coverage that they have in place now and no longer can add new red-tape barriers that make it harder for families to sign up for coverage.[Note: this means NO cuts to FAMIS eligibility!!]
Please share this news about early changes to clients, family and friends. The more people learn about the law, the more they like it! All of us should help stop the distortions and misinformation about the bill. Over the next weeks, months and years, we will be inundated with information and implementation discussions/planning/action. And, yes, there's also litigation trying to stop reform - but that should be over well before 2014, when the major elements of reform take effect.
If you are interested in basic information about the key elements of the new law, I recommend an
8-page fact sheet from the Georgetown Center for Children and Families that focuses on key Medicaid, CHIP and low income provisions in the health care reform package. The benefits for low income families will be ENORMOUS!
Also remember - passage of this law provides new momentum to efforts to identify and enroll the 130,000 uninsured children in Virginia who actually qualify for health insurance through FAMIS Plus and FAMIS right now! Many people are "buzzing" about health insurance, and you know how to enroll their kids. Also, many of these children have parents who are uninsured. They may want to learn more about how health reform can help them now and in the near future. The Virginia Poverty Law Center will continue to provide short fact sheets that you can distribute to families.
MANY THANKS to everyone
who participated in efforts to get health reform enacted!
Project Connect Expansion
On February 1, 2010, VHCF awarded $882,000 to seven organizations to expand its Project Connect initiative. These grants were funded by the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA) Outreach and Enrollment grant the Foundation received in September 2009. The seven organizations represent all major regions of the state, except Southern Virginia (where VHCF already has two existing Project Connect grantees) and will target both urban and rural populations. Three organizations are returning former grantees, two are existing grantees who are expanding into new areas, and two are brand new to child health insurance outreach. Together, the organizations will hire 10 outreach workers who, once trained and working, will collectively enroll almost 6,000 children over a 20 month period in the FAMIS Programs. 
Congratulations to the newest Project Connect family members!
Bon Secours Richmond Health Care Foundation (serving Chesterfield County and the City of Richmond)

Henrico County Public Schools (serving Henrico County)

Inova Partnership for Healthier Kids (expanding into Prince William County)

Lonesome Pine Office on Youth (serving Wise County)

Radford University FAMIS Outreach Project (serving Roanoke)

The STOP Organization (expanding into Portsmouth and Virginia Beach)

United Way - Thomas Jefferson Area (serving Albemarle County and City of Charlottesville)
Changes to Marketing Materials
There are two exciting changes to the FAMIS marketing materials. First, the FAMIS Brochure and Application for Health Insurance for Children and Pregnant Women were updated to reflect the Citizenship and Identity requirement changes to FAMIS and FAMIS MOMS that went into effect on January 1, 2010. (See policy changes below for more details.) The wording on the brochure and in the Application instructions now suggests that Applicants include Social Security Numbers on the application for verification purposes. The newest versions of both these documents are dated 11/09 and can be ordered on-line via the FAMIS web site.
Secondly, there are several new changes to the FAMIS web site (, including:a "What's New" button on the home page, and a more visible listing of the exceptions to the four month waiting period on the FAMIS Eligibility page. Also new to the site is the "Member Self Services" page where a family can enter a question or comments to be read/answered by FAMIS Central Processing Unit staff; report a change in address and/or phone number, and request an Identification Card.

Policy Changes 

Federal Poverty Guidelines
The Federal Government has extended the 2009 Federal Poverty Guidelines through at least March 31, 2010. Congress had first extended them through March 1st, and then the President signed the Temporary Extension Act of 2010 on March 2nd which bumped the extension through the end of March.

Reminder: Verification of Identity and Citizenship
As required by federal law, Virginia began requiring applicants for FAMIS and FAMIS MOMS to verify their identity and US citizenship on January 1, 2010. Three documents provide proof of both citizenship and identity: a US passport; a Certificate of Naturalization; and a Certificate of Citizenship (issued to a child born outside the US to US citizen parents). If the applicant does not have one of the three documents above, they will have to provide two documents, one that proves citizenship and one that proves identity. Most often, for citizenship, this would be a birth certificate and for identity, this would be a driver's license. A complete list of acceptable documents can be found in the DSS Medicaid Manual, Volume XIII M0220.100 - Appendixes 7 and 8. For a child under age 16, no proof of identity is required because the Application itself serves as an affidavit of identity for the applicant child once signed by the parent/guardian/relative.

New: Social Security Administration Data Match
Currently, a Social Security Number (SSN) is an eligibility requirement for FAMIS Plus and Medicaid for Pregnant Women (and will soon be a requirement for FAMIS and FAMIS MOMS). Thanks to the implementation of a new practice (effective March 1, 2010) of electronically matching the SSN with data from the Social Security Administration, it will now be easier for some families to meet the citizenship and identity (C&I) requirements. If the applicant supplies a SSN, and all other eligibility requirements are met, he/she will be enrolled in the appropriate coverage (FAMIS Plus/FAMIS/Medicaid for Pregnant Women/FAMIS MOMS) pending verification of C&I via SSN data match. If the data match results are positive, no further documentation of C&I will be needed and the recipient will remain enrolled in coverage.
If no data match is found, DSS or the CPU will check to make sure that the SSN, name and date of birth of the applicant contained no typographical errors. If they did, they will correct them and the SSN will be resent for verification. If the information contained no errors and there still is no match, the family will be sent a notice giving them 90 days to supply proof of C&I for the person whose information failed the match. If the family does not supply these documents within the 90 day timeframe, the coverage for the person with the failed match will be terminated. If the family chooses to re-apply for that person at a later date, documentation of C&I will be required at the time of re-application.
Did You Know? Managed Care Changes
Effective April 1, 2010, Optima Family Care will no longer be available as a Medicaid/FAMIS managed care plan for recipients residing in Clarke, Frederick, Rappahannock, Shenandoah, Warren, and Winchester.
Medicaid clients, including children on FAMIS Plus, residing in these localities who are currently enrolled in Optima Family Care will continue to be enrolled in Optima Family Care until March 31, 2010. Optima's exit from Warren County leaves only one remaining managed care plan in this locality. DMAS is currently in the process of determining the options available for this locality and how to best implement the necessary program changes. In the meantime, clients residing in Warren County only will return to Fee-For-Service (FFS or regular Medicaid) on April 1, 2010 and will remain in FFS until further notice. Clients in the other five localities listed above will go into FFS on April 1, and be preassigned to a managed care plan available in their locality. Enrollment in the new plan will be effective May 1, 2010. 
Letters have been mailed to affected clients. Medicaid recipients may call the Managed Care Helpline at (800) 643-2273 between 8:30 a.m. - 6:00 p.m., Monday - Friday, if they have any questions or need assistance. 

FAMIS/FAMIS MOMS enrollees will be enrolled in Optima until March 31, 2010. FAMIS enrollees in Warren County will be automatically enrolled in Anthem HealthKeepers Plus effective April 1, 2010. These individuals will have 90 days from April 1, 2010 to request disenrollment from Anthem by contacting the FAMIS CPU. Individuals in the five other localities will be reassigned to one of the remaining MCOs in their locality. Their effective date with the new FAMIS MCO is April 1, 2010. These individuals have 90-days from April 1 to change to a different MCO. FAMIS recipients may contact the FAMIS CPU at (866) 87FAMIS between 8:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. Monday - Friday, and 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Saturday for information on how this change will affect them.
(Source: Managed Care Division, Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services)

SignUpNow Workshops


SignUpNow logo with sun
is on the road again! There are two SignUpNow Workshops scheduled for April and an additional one is planned for May. To register, follow the link below and select the training you wish to attend, from there a link will take you to online registration.

Workshop 1 (Richmond):
April 15th from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Children's Hospital 
Workshop 2 (Roanoke):
April 20th from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Roanoke Workforce Center
Workshop 3 (Williamsburg):
May 2010 - specific date, time and location TBD soon!
For more detailed information on these workshops and to register to attend, go to

Not able to make one of these in-person trainings? Now you can access the same information on-line via the SignUpNow online training curriculum at: 
If you have colleagues who would benefit from receiving SignUpNow Outreach, please forward this email to them and encourage them to subscribe to our mailing list. We look forward to providing additional information on children's health insurance in the near future.
Polly Raible
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This newsletter is made possible with support from the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services
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