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Virginia Eliminates Immigrants’ Work Requirement for Medicaid

The end of “the 40-quarter rule,” which required immigrants to have worked for 10 years to be eligible for Medicaid, went into effect on April 1.

The rule was eliminated through a budget amendment from the 2020 legislative session. Virginia was only one of six states with such a requirement. Now, Green Card holders with Five years of residency don’t need to show proof of work. Five years is the federal requirement. 

The rule change means that Ruth Alburez is busy and is going to stay that way for awhile.

“Oh boy! Personally, I’m booked until two weeks from now,” said Alburez, a health care navigator with the Legal Aid Justice Center, who helps people apply for Medicaid and health insurance through the Affordable Care Act’s Marketplace.

“This is a big, big change that is going to provide access to health insurance to many, many immigrants that before couldn't apply for Medicaid.”

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that the Department of Medical Services estimates that 4,000 Virginians could be newly eligible.

Since Alburez started working as a healthcare navigator in 2015, the eligibility for Medicaid has broadened a lot. Two years ago Virginia expanded eligibility to Us citizens within certain income limits.

Those wishing to apply for health coverage can do so by calling CommonHelp at or visiting commonhelp.virginia.gov.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Jahd Khalil is a reporter and producer in Richmond.
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