Lackey Clinic expands income eligibility limits for health care services

Staff writer

While Medicaid expansion will cover more Virginians in 2019, some people will still struggle to afford quality health care.

That’s where Lackey Clinic comes in. The York-based clinic plans to increase the income eligibility limit for its health care services from 200 percent of the federal poverty limit to 300 percent of the federal poverty limit.

People qualify for Medicaid if they are at or below 138 percent of the federal poverty level. That means a household of a single person can make $16,753.

“But it is still not enough, said Amber Martens, Lackey Clinic’s director of patient assistance. “We want to help those people who are in between.”

Even just a buck above the state’s $7.25 an hour minimum wage disqualifies a full-time worker for the Medicaid expansion. Census data and small-area health insurances estimates show that about 13,600 people in the clinic’s service area — which includes Williamsburg, James City and York — will earn too much for Medicaid expansion but still could struggle to pay for health insurance.

The people who fall in the middle of Medicaid and marketplace health insurance are working people like teachers, nursing assistants and low-level employees in the restaurant and tourism industries. The clinic’s program, which started Nov. 1, seeks to provide a healthcare option for those people, Martens said.

Lackey Clinic’s expansion makes its free health care services available to single-person households that make $36,420 annually. For a household of four, that’s a limit of $75,300.

The clinic’s services include primary care and access to specialists. There’s no cost for the program except the cost of generic prescriptions, Martens said, adding that since the clinic’s services are donation based, it does ask patients consider a $10 donation when they go to the doctor.

In May, the General Assembly approved a budget that included Medicaid expansion, which opened coverage to about 400,000 low-income Virginians between the ages of 19 and 64 not eligible for Medicare who make up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level.

For a family of three, that’s a household income of up to $28,677. Enrollment for the Medicaid expansion started Nov. 1 and continues on a rolling basis.

For more information, visit lackeyclinic.org.

Jack Jacobs, 757-298-6007, jojacobs@vagazette.com, @jajacobs_

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