SignUpNow Outreach
Communities Connecting Kids with Health Coverage 
Winter 2014

Welcome to the SignUpNow Outreach eNewsletter. SignUpNow (SUN) is an initiative of the Virginia Health Care Foundation (VHCF) that is focused on increasing enrollment of eligible uninsured children in Virginia's FAMIS programs.

In This Issue
New Renewal Process
Elimination of FAMIS Waiting Period
Spring SUN Trainings
New FPL Levels
Legislative Update

Alert!  New Renewal Process for FAMIS and FAMIS Plus (Children's Medicaid)

Due to the new systems and policies put in place as a result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), Virginia is implementing a new renewal process for existing FAMIS and FAMIS Plus cases.  For active cases due for renewal in April and May, they will be converted in March from the legacy eligibility systems (either ADAPT or CHAMPS) to the new eligibility system, VaCMS.  A partially pre-filled renewal form will be generated and sent to the families.  Enrollees will be given 30 days to review the form, make any corrections, add the information on tax filing status and tax dependents needed to determine eligibility under the new rules, and sign and return to the appropriate local department of social services.  Failure to return the form could result in termination of benefits. 


Each month, more conversions will take place corresponding with the upcoming renewal month.  This conversion will go on for the next year.  As this is a new process, if you are helping families with renewals, please encourage them to get the forms completed and back to their local department of social services so that the eligibility determination can be completed timely and coverage will not be interrupted for those who remain eligible.

Legislation Passed to Eliminate FAMIS Waiting Period 

While there is still a lot up in the air with regard to health coverage in Virginia, one piece of legislation concerning the state's child health insurance programs was passed this legislative session and has already been signed by the 

Governor - the elimination of the FAMIS four month waiting period.  As of July 1, 2014, there will no longer be a requirement that an individual must be without health insurance for four months in order to be eligible for the FAMIS program.  While many families have qualified for exceptions to this waiting period over the years, and the number of families it actually prevented from being covered was minimal, the elimination of this barrier is a huge benefit to families with children who are eligible for the FAMIS program and will have a minimal financial impact on the state. 

Sign Up Now is Going Back on the Road!  

As of October 1, 2013 there have been big changes in eligibility rules and application processing for State-Sponsored Health Insurance for Children and Pregnant Women. The SignUpNow (SUN) trainings and the Tool Kit have been completely updated with these changes.  If you were unable to attend one of our trainings last Fall, we now have several more opportunities for you to learn the new eligibility rules.  We will be conducting our free comprehensive workshop, "State-Sponsored Health Insurance for Children and Pregnant Women," in the following cities this April and May:

  • 4/10 - Danville
  • 4/11- Roanoke
  • 4/22 - Winchester
  • 4/29 - Fredericksburg
  • 5/1 - Harrisonburg
  • 5/6 - Williamsburg
  • 5/13 - Richmond

For specific dates and locations, more information about who should attend and registration links go to, click here


Also, the updated 14th edition of the SignUpNow Tool Kit has been published and can be downloaded here.  It includes updated information on the new eligibility rules and processes in Virginia due to the Affordable Care Act. 


The SignUpNow online training curriculum is being updated and will be available soon. 

Changes to the Federal Poverty Level 

Each year the federal government determines if there is a need to increase the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), and if it decides to do so, the new FPL is published at the end of January.  This year, the FPL increased on January 22nd.  You can download a copy of the income card here.

Legislative Update

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), as it was originally passed, included a mandate that all states expand their Medicaid programs to 138% of the federal poverty level for adults.  In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states cannot be required to expand their Medicaid programs, but have the option to do so.  To date, Virginia has chosen not to expand Medicaid.  As a result, a "coverage gap" has been created where as many as 250,000 low-income Virginians who would have been eligible for Medicaid as of January 1, 2014, do not have access to health insurance.  They make too much to qualify for Virginia's current Medicaid program, and too little to be eligible for subsides in the federal health insurance marketplace.  For more info click here.


To address this gap, the Virginia Senate has proposed a budget amendment that would authorize the development of Marketplace Virginia, a new program to allow low-income, uninsured Virginians to purchase private health insurance subsidized by federal dollars obtained via the health reform law.  The House of Delegates has rejected this budget amendment and the majority of its members remain opposed to expanding Medicaid, as well.  Click here to learn more about Marketplace Virginia.  

Enrollment Facts

FAMIS Program Enrollment as of March 1, 2014 (most recent data available):

  • 61,791 children are enrolled in FAMIS (including 293 in FAMIS Select);
  • 516,724 children are enrolled in FAMIS Plus (including the CHIP Medicaid Expansion);
  • 1,014 pregnant women are enrolled in FAMIS MOMS;
  • 14,755 pregnant women are enrolled in Medicaid for Pregnant Women; and
  • 47,227 men and women are enrolled in Plan First.
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 by clicking on the "Join our Mailing List" button. We look forward to providing additional information on children's health insurance in the near future.

Kim Bemberis & Kate Honsberger
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This newsletter is made possible with support from the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services
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