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June 08, 2022, 05:06 EDT

Chapter 3: Member Eligibility

Updated: 2/22/2019

Determining Eligibility

The Department of Medical Assistance Services (DMAS) administers Virginia’s medical assistance programs: Medicaid (called FAMIS Plus for children), FAMIS for children under age 19 years, and FAMIS MOMS for pregnant women. FAMIS and FAMIS MOMS offer coverage similar to Medicaid but have higher income thresholds. Per state regulations, eligibility determinations for the medical assistance programs are made by the local departments of social services (LDSS) and by the Cover Virginia Central Processing Unit (CPU).

Inquiries from persons who wish to apply for medical assistance should be referred to the LDSS in the locality in which the applicant resides, to the Cover Virginia Call Center at 1-855-242-8282, or the Cover Virginia website at DMAS will not pay providers for services, supplies, or equipment until the applicant’s eligibility has been determined. (See "Assistance to Patients Possibly Eligible for Benefits.") Once an applicant has been found eligible, coverage for Medicaid can be retroactive for up to three months before the month in which the application was filed. A member’s eligibility must be reviewed when a change in the member’s circumstances occurs, and all members are subject to an annual renewal (redetermination) of eligibility.

Groups Covered by Medical Assistance

Individuals who apply for Medicaid are evaluated under the covered group or groups they meet. Each covered group has a prescribed income limit, and some covered groups also have an asset or resource limit. . Individuals may be eligible for full medical assistance coverage, including the payment of Medicare premiums for Medicaid members with Medicare, if they fall into one of the following covered groups and meet the nonfinancial and financial requirements for the group:

  • Auxiliary Grants (AG) recipients
  • Aged, blind or disabled (ABD) recipients of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and certain former SSI recipients with “protected” status
  • ABD individuals with income less than or equal to 80% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) who are age 65 or older and/or who are eligible for or enrolled in Medicare.
  • Low-Income Families with Children (parents with a dependent child under age 18 years in the home)
  • Pregnant women, and postpartum women through the end of the 60-day postpartum period (Medicaid, FAMIS MOMS)
  • Newborns up to age one year born to mothers who were eligible for Medicaid or covered by FAMIS or FAMIS MOMS at the time of the birth
  • Children in foster care or subsidized adoptions, and individuals under age 26 who were formerly in foster care until their discharge from foster care at age 18 or older.
  • Children under age 19 years (FAMIS Plus, FAMIS)
  • Adults between the ages of 19 and 64 who are not eligible for or enrolled in Medicare. These individuals are referred to as Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI) Adults.
  • Individuals under age 21 in institutional care
  • Breast and Cervical Cancer Prevention and Treatment Act (BCCPTA)—women and men who were certified through the Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program.
  • Individuals who are in long-term care institutions or receiving services under a home and community-based care waiver, or who have elected hospice care

The following individuals may be eligible for limited Medicaid coverage if they meet the nonfinancial and financial requirements for their covered group:

  • Qualified Medicare Beneficiaries (QMBs) with income over 80% of the FPL but within 100% of the FPL. This group is eligible for Medicaid coverage of Medicare premiums, deductibles, and coinsurance only.
  • Special Low-Income Medicare Beneficiaries (SLMB) with income less than 120% of the FPL. This group is eligible for Medicaid coverage of Medicare Part B premiums only.
  • Qualified Individuals (QI) with income equal to or greater than 120% but less than 135% of the FPL. This group is eligible for Medicaid coverage of the Medicare Part B premiums only.
  • Qualified Disabled and Working Individuals (QDWI) with income up to 200% of the FPL. This group is eligible for Medicaid payment of Medicare Part A premiums only.
  • Plan First – any individual with income equal to or less than 200% of FPL. This group is eligible for limited Medicaid coverage of family planning services only and not covered for full Medicaid benefits. If a member does not wish to be enrolled in Plan First, he or she should contact the local DSS to be disenrolled.

Medically Needy Covered Groups and Spenddown

Through a process known as “spenddown,” Medicaid provides a limited period of full coverage for certain groups of “Medically Needy” individuals who meet all of the Medicaid eligibility requirements but have excess income for full benefit Medicaid. Individuals to which spenddown may apply include:

  • ABD individuals
  • Pregnant women and their newborn children
  • Children under age 18
  • Individuals under Age 21 in institutional care, under supervision of the Department of Juvenile Justice, foster care, or subsidized adoptions
  • Individuals in long-term care institutions and those receiving services under a home and community-based care waiver or who have elected hospice care.

To be eligible for Medicaid, the individual must have incurred medical expenses that at least equal the spenddown liability. If the individual’s allowable medical expenses equal the spenddown liability amount before the end of a budget period (six-month period for noninstitutionalized individuals or a one month period for institutionalized individuals), the applicant may receive a limited period of Medicaid coverage which will stop at the end of the budget period. The spenddown liability is the difference between the individual’s income and the Medically Needy income limit for the individual’s locality, multiplied by the number of months in the individual’s spenddown period. Eligibility must be re-determined in order to establish eligibility in subsequent budget periods.

An individual placed on a spenddown does not have full Medicaid coverage until the spenddown is met, however they may be eligible for limited Medicaid coverage, Plan First, during the spenddown period. Medicaid cannot pay medical expenses incurred prior to the date the spenddown is met.

Emergency Medicaid Services for Aliens

To be eligible for full Medicaid benefits, FAMIS or FAMIS MOMS, an individual must be a resident of Virginia and a U.S. citizen or an alien qualified for full benefits. Individuals who do not qualify for full Medicaid benefits due to their alien status may be eligible for Medicaid coverage of emergency services if they meet all other nonfinancial and financial eligibility requirements for full Medicaid coverage.. The FAMIS and FAMIS MOMS programs do not cover emergency services for undocumented immigrants.

LDSS staff determine eligibility for receipt of emergency Medicaid coverage based on regular eligibility criteria and documentation from the provider of services that emergency services were provided. The provider may refer the individual to the LDSS or Cover Virginia (see Chapter I for information on the covered services and the coverage criteria.) For the purposes of this section, labor and delivery are considered emergency services.

Receipt of the emergency treatment will be verified by the LDSS through the member's medical record obtained from the provider. The LDSS will send a written request to the provider for the necessary documentation of the emergency service. This documentation must include all required Medicaid forms and a copy of the member's complete medical record. For inpatient hospital stays, this documentation will be the medical record for the entire hospitalization up to the 21-day limit for those over age 20.

The LDSS is authorized to approve labor and delivery services of up to three days for a vaginal delivery and five days for a cesarean section. All other services will be referred to DMAS for approval of the coverage of treatment and for establishment of the time for which this coverage will be valid.

If the member is found eligible and the emergency coverage is approved by DMAS, each provider rendering emergency care will be notified via the Emergency Medical Certification Form (#032-03-628) of the member's temporary eligibility number for coverage of the treatment of the conditions during the time stated on this form. This form will also be used to notify providers if an alien is not eligible for emergency care (See “Exhibits” at the end of this chapter for a sample of this form.).

Medicaid Eligibility for Institutionalized Individuals

An institutionalized individual is defined as one who is receiving long-term services and supports (LTSS) as an inpatient in a medical institution or nursing facility or in the home or community setting. Home and community based services (HCBS) include waiver services such as personal care, adult day health care, respite care, and the Program for All Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE).

To be approved for Medicaid-covered LTSS, the individual must be institutionalized in a nursing or other medical facility or have been screened and approved for HCBS. and be eligible for Medicaid in a full-benefit covered group.

If an individual is not eligible for Medicaid in any other full-benefit covered group, the individual’s eligibility in the one of the special income covered groups is determined. The policy for these groups allows a different method of determining income and resource eligibility, a higher income limit of 300% of the SSI payment for one person., An married institutionalized individual's spouse at home is referred to as the community spouse. The community spouse is able to retain a specified amount of resources in order to continue to meet maintenance needs in the community. Some of the institutionalized spouse’s monthly income may also be allocated to the community spouse if certain criteria are met. Atthe time of application for Medicaid, the LDSS completes the resource assessment document, which produces a compilation of a couple's combined countable resources at the time one spouse became institutionalized and a calculation of a spousal share (the amount of shared resources that can be allocated to the community spouse). An institutionalized spouse with a community spouse may also request a resource assessment without submitting a Medicaid application to assist with financial planning.

Most individuals receiving LTSS have an obligation toward the cost of their care, known as the patient pay. MAGI adults do not have a patent pay responsibility.

Family Access to Medical Insurance Security (FAMIS) Plan

Section 4901 of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 (BBA) amended the Social Security Act (the Act) by adding a new title XXI, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).  Title XXI provides funds to states to enable them to initiate and expand the provision of child health assistance to uninsured, low-income children in an effective and efficient manner.  


Virginia’s Title XXI program is known as FAMIS and is a comprehensive health insurance program for Virginia’s children from birth through age 18 who are not covered under other health insurance and whose income is over the Medicaid income limit and under 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level.  FAMIS is administered by DMAS and is funded by the state and federal government.  

FAMIS Covered Services

FAMIS covered services are somewhat different  from Medicaid covered services. One of the key differences is that most children enrolled in the FAMIS Program are not eligible for EPSDT treatment services. Children who are eligible for the FAMIS program must enroll with a Managed Care Organization (MCO). Although FAMIS enrollees receive well child visits, they are not eligible for the full EPSDT treatment benefit. 


The following services are covered for FAMIS enrollees:  

  • Abortion only if necessary to save the life of the mother
  • Behavioral therapies including, but not limited to, applied behavior analysis;

Assistive technology

Blood lead testing 

  • Chiropractic with benefit limitations
  • Clinic services (including health center services) and other ambulatory health care services
  • Community Mental Health Rehabilitation Services (CMHRS) including:

Intensive in-home services

Therapeutic day treatment

  • Mental health crisis intervention
  • Case management for children at risk of (or with) serious emotional disturbance
  • Dental services (includes diagnostic, preventive, primary, orthodontic, prosthetic and complex restorative services)
  • Durable medical equipment, prosthetic devices, hearing aids, and eyeglasses with certain limitations
  • Disposable medical supplies
  • Early Intervention services including targeted case management 
  • Emergency hospital services
  • Family planning services, including coverage for prescription drugs and devices approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use as contraceptives
  • Gender dysphoria treatment services
  • Home and community-based health care services (includes nursing and personal care services, home health aides, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech, hearing, and inhalation therapy)
  • Hospice care including care related to the treatment of the child’s condition with respect to which a diagnosis of terminal illness has been made
  • Inpatient substance abuse treatment services, with the following exceptions: services furnished in a state-operated mental hospital, services furnished in IMDs, or residential services or other 24-hour therapeutically planned structural services
  • Inpatient services (365 days per confinement; includes ancillary services)
  • Inpatient acute mental health services in general acute care hospital only. Does not include those (a) services furnished in a state-operated mental hospital, (b) services furnished by IMDs, or (c) residential services or other 24-hour therapeutically planned structural services 
  • Maternity services including routine prenatal care 
  • Medical formula, enteral/medical foods (sole source, specialized formula – not routine infant formula)
  • Nurse practitioner services, nurse midwife services, and private duty nursing services are covered.  Skilled nursing services provided for special education students are covered with limitations 
  • Organ transplantation
  • Outpatient mental health services, other than services furnished in a state-operated mental hospital
  • Outpatient substance abuse treatment services, other than services furnished in a state-operated mental hospital. These include intensive outpatient, partial hospitalization, medication assisted treatment, case management, and peer support services
  • Outpatient services, including emergency services, surgical services, clinical services, and professional provider services in a physician’s office or outpatient hospital department
  • Outpatient diagnostic tests, X-rays, and laboratory services covered in a physician's office, hospital, independent and clinical reference lab (including mammograms);
  • Prescription drugs (mandatory generic program) and over-the-counter (optional for managed care)
  • Peer support services
  • Physician services, including services while admitted in the hospital, or in a physician’s office, or outpatient hospital department
  • Physical therapy, occupational therapy, and services for individuals with speech, hearing, and language disorders
  • School based health services
  • Skilled nursing facility
  • Surgical services
  • Transportation - professional ambulance services only to medically necessary covered services (fee-for-service members have  routine access to and from providers of covered medical services)
  • Vision services
  • Well-child care, including visits, laboratory services as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics Advisory Committee, and any immunizations as recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice (ACIP) 

Member Copays

FAMIS does not have yearly or monthly premiums.  However, children who are enrolled in a MCO must pay co-payments for some covered services.  There are no co-payments required for preventative services such as well-child care, immunizations, or dental care.  The chart below shows the co-payment amounts for some basic FAMIS services for children who are enrolled in a MCO, based on co-pay status. 


NOTE:  Native Americans and Alaskan Natives do NOT have any co-payments.


Co-pay Status 1

Co-pay Status 2

Outpatient Hospital or Doctor

$2 per visit

$5 per visit

Prescription Drugs

$2 per prescription

$5 per prescription

Inpatient Hospital

$15 per admission

$25 per admission

Non-emergency use of Emergency Room

$10 per visit

$25 per visit

Yearly Co-payment Limit per Family



 *Other co-payments may apply to other services.  

Member Eligibility Card

A blue and white plastic eligibility card is issued to members to present to participating providers. Plan First members receive a green and white identification card. The provider is obligated to determine that the person to whom care or service is being rendered is the same individual listed on the eligibility card. The provider has the responsibility to request such identification as he or she deems necessary. Presentation of a plastic ID card is not proof of coverage nor guarantee of payment. A sample of an eligibility card is included under “Exhibits” at the end of this chapter.

Eligibility must be confirmed each time service is rendered. Verification can occur through a verification vendor, the voice response system or the web-based verification system. LDSS do not provide verification of eligibility to providers.

Some individuals have coverage under a Virginia Medicaid/FAMIS contracted managed care organization (MCO) and should not receive services outside their network without a referral and authorization from the MCO. These members will have an MCO card in addition to the Medicaid/FAMIS card. The verification response will advise if the member has restrictions such as a contracted MCO enrollment, or a primary payer.

The provider must determine if the service is within the dates of eligibility. These dates must be checked prior to rendering any service. Benefits are available only for services performed during the indicated period of eligibility; Medicaid/FAMIS will not pay for care or services rendered before the beginning date or after the end date of eligibility.

Bank Identifier
The top six numbers on the plastic card represent the Bank Identifier Number (BIN), which is required for pharmacy benefit cards under the National Council of Prescription Drug Programs (NCPDP).

Name of Eligible Person
An eligibility card is issued to each person eligible for full Medicaid/FAMIS benefits and QMBs. Members enrolled in Plan First receive a green and white identification card. Check the name against another proof of identification if there is any question that the card does not belong to the member.

Member's Eligibility Number
The member's complete eligibility number is embossed on the front of the eligibility card. Eligibility numbers are distinct and permanent. When a member relocates or moves into another case, or has a break in eligibility, he keeps the same number and the same card. When members are enrolled in Plan First, they will receive a green and white identification card. This number serves as a “key” in verifying current eligibility status.

All 12 digits must be entered on Medicaid forms for billing purposes.

Date of Birth
The date of birth indicates the member's age and identifies eligibility for those services with age restrictions, such as dental care for members under age 21 and pregnant women. The date of birth should be checked prior to rendering any services. The provider should verify the age of the member. If the provider has a question as to the age of the member, means of identification other than the Medicaid/FAMIS card should be examined.

The member's gender is indicated on the card.

Card #
The sequential number of the member’s card is given. If a card is lost or stolen and another Manual Title All Manuals Chapter III Page 7 Chapter Subject Member Eligibility Page Revision Date 02/22/2019 is issued, the prior card will be de-activated and will not confirm eligibility using the magnetic “swipe” mechanism.

Cardholder’s Signature (signature line on back)
The signature line provides another element of verification to confirm identity

Verification of Member Eligibility

It is the obligation of the provider of care to determine the identity of the person named on the eligibility card and the current eligibility status, to include program type or MCO enrollment. It is in the best interest of the provider to review the card each time services are rendered. Possession of a card does not mean the holder is currently eligible for benefits. The member does not relinquish the card when coverage is cancelled. Replacement cards must be requested.

Program/Benefit Package Information

Members’ benefits vary depending upon the program in which they are enrolled. The eligibility verification will provide information on which program the member is participating in. Examples of these programs include Medallion 3.0, Medicaid fee-forservices, FAMIS MCO, CCC Plus, FAMIS fee-for-service and Medicare premium payment.

Limited Benefit Programs for Which Members Receive Eligibility Cards

The Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act of 1988 and other legislation require State Medicaid Programs to expand the coverage of services to QMBs. There are two levels of coverage for QMBs, based on financial eligibility.

QMB Coverage Only—Members in this group are eligible for Medicaid coverage of Medicare premiums and of deductible and coinsurance up to the Medicaid payment limit, less the member's copayment on allowed charges for all Medicare-covered services. Their Medicaid verification will provide the message "QUALIFIED MEDICARE BENEFICIARY--QMB." The Medicare coinsurance is limited to the Medicaid fee when combined with the Medicare payment.

QMB Extended Coverage—Members in this group are dually-eligible for full Medicaid coverage and Medicare. They are eligible for Medicaid coverage of Medicare premiums and of deductible and coinsurance up to the Medicaid payment limit on allowed charges for all Medicare-covered services plus coverage of all other Medicaid-covered services listed in Chapter I of this manual. This group’s Medicaid verification provides the message, "QUALIFIED MEDICARE BENEFICIARY--QMB EXTENDED." These members are responsible for copays for pharmacy services, health department clinic visits, and vision services.

SLMBs and QIs do not receive member eligibility cards because they are not eligible for the payment of medical services rendered.

Plan First—Men and women enrolled in Plan First can receive limited Medicaid covered family planning services only, and they receive a green and white plastic Plan First identification card. This group’s Medicaid verification provides the message, “PLAN FIRST - FAMILY PLANNING SERVICES ONLY.” See the Plan First Manual for more information.

All Others—Members without ANY of these messages at time of verification will be eligible for those covered services listed in Chapter I of this manual.

Special Indicator Code (Copayment Code)

The Special Indicator Code indicates the status of copayments or eligibility for certain additional services. These codes are:

Code Message
A Under 21 - No copay exists.
B Individuals Receiving Long-Term Care Services, Home or Community-Based Waiver Services, or Hospice Care - No copay is required for any service.
C All Other Members - Copays apply for inpatient hospital admissions, outpatient hospital clinic visits, clinic visits, physician office visits, other physician visits, eye examinations, prescriptions, home health visits, and rehabilitation service visits. (Some verification methods may return a yes/no response. Yes = copays apply. No = copays do not apply)

The following copay exemptions apply:

  • Members in managed care organizations may not have to pay copays.
  • Pregnancy-related services or family planning clinic visits, drugs, and supplies are exempt from copays for all members.
  • No copayments apply for any emergency services for any member, with one exception for members in Client Medical Management with a pharmacy restriction. Please refer to the Client Medical Management exhibit in Chapter I for more information on this exception.

The Medicaid member co-pays are located in Chapter IV.

The FAMIS member co-pays are:

Service* Co-pay Status 1 Co-pay Status 2
Outpatient Hospital or Doctor $2 per visit $5 per visit
Prescription Drugs $2 per prescription $5 per prescription
Inpatient Hospital $15 per admission $25 per admission
Non-emergency use of Emergency Room $10 per visit $25 per visit
Yearly Co-payment Limit per Family $180 $350

*Other co-payments may apply to other services.

Insurance Information The “Insurance Information” in the verification response indicates any type of insurance coverage the member has in addition to Medicaid. This information includes specific insurance companies, dates of coverage, policy numbers, and a code that specifies the particular type of coverage of the policy. These items are:

Carrier Code A three-digit code indicating the name of the insurance carrier, e.g. 001 for Medicare (See Insurance Company Code List for these code numbers in “EXHIBITS” at the end of this chapter.) If the carrier code is 003 (not listed), call the member’s local eligibility worker for assistance in obtaining the name of the insurance carrier.
Begin Date The first date on which this insurance policy was effective
Type Code An alpha character describing the type of coverage provided by the policy, such as a "D" for dental coverage. (See the Type of Coverage Code List under “EXHIBITS” at the end of this chapter for a list of these codes.)
Policy Number/ Medicare Code The specific policy or Medicare number for the insurance identified by the Carrier Code

Only insurance information for active policies during the period for which eligibility is requested is provided at verification. If the member reports insurance information different from what is on the card, refer the member to his or her LDSS eligibility worker to correct the data so bills will be processed correctly.

Under the assignment of benefits regulations, DMAS can act on behalf of the member (subscriber) and recover third-party payment from the primary carrier. Workers' Compensation and other liability insurances (e.g., automobile liability insurance or home accident insurance) are always considered as primary carriers for cases where coverage is applicable to the injury being treated. Because the member's eligibility card cannot indicate this coverage, it is necessary that cause-of-injury information be obtained from the member.

Primary Care Providers (PCPs) for the Client Medical Management Program

A primary care designation or restriction is imposed by the Member Monitoring Unit of DMAS as a result of high utilization of services by the member causing unnecessary or duplicate services. Eligibility verification will list the names of designated primary care providers (physician and/or pharmacy). The designated providers must agree to the relationship prior to the designation appearing on the member's card. Unless it is an emergency, do not provide services without contacting the primary care provider first for authorization.

Managed Care Programs

Most Medicaid members are enrolled in one of the Department’s managed care programs (Medallion 3.0, Medallion 4.0, CCC Plus, PACE). Each program has specific eligibility requirements and health plan assignment criteria for its members. For more information, please contact the individual’s managed care plan/PACE provider directly.

Contact and/or eligibility and assignment information for managed care plans can be found on the DMAS website for each program as follows:

Member Without an Eligibility Card

A member who seeks services without a current eligibility card should be considered responsible for all charges incurred unless eligibility is verified. The provider can verify eligibility without the card using two other identification keys, including name, Social Security Number, and date of birth. These can be used to access the MediCall automated System, the verification vendors, and the web verification system (ARS). See Chapter I for further information about verification methods. LDSS do not provide verification of eligibility to providers.


Assistance to Patients Possibly Eligible for Benefits

If a patient is unable to pay for services rendered, the provider may refer the patient or the patient's authorized representative to the LDSS in the locality in which the applicant resides or to the Cover Virginia Call Center at 1-855-242-8282 for an application for health care coverage. The LDSS or Cover Virginia will notify the patient of eligibility or ineligibility. Medicaid assumes no financial responsibility for services rendered prior to the effective date of a member's eligibility. The effective date of Medicaid eligibility may be retroactive up to three months prior to the month in which the application was filed, if the patient was eligible during the retroactive period. Once a patient is found eligible, providers may bill Medicaid for covered services, and upon receipt of payment from Medicaid, must reimburse the patient for the out-of-pocket expenses; Medicaid does not reimburse members for out-of-pocket expenses.

Medicaid Applications -- Authorized Representative Policy

Medicaid eligibility requirements are strict and require an applicant or someone conducting business on his or her behalf to attest to citizenship or alien status, declare all income and assets, and make assignment of insurance and medical support benefits. In order to accurately determine eligibility, LDSS must ensure that an individual who files an application or someone conducting business on behalf of the applicant has full knowledge of the applicant’s situation and can provide correct information.

A Medicaid applicant must sign the application form unless the application is filed and signed by the applicant’s legal guardian or conservator, attorney-in-fact, or other person who is authorized to apply on the applicant’s behalf. If the applicant is unable to sign his or her name but can make a mark, the mark must be designated “his/her mark” and witnessed by one person.

A child under age 18 cannot legally sign a Medicaid application for himself or herself unless he or she is legally emancipated from his or her parents. If a child is not legally emancipated, his or her parent or legal guardian, an authorized representative designated by the parent or legal guardian, or a caretaker relative with whom the child lives must sign the application. Exception: A minor child under 18 years of age may apply for Medicaid on behalf of his or her own child.

A legally competent individual age 18 or older may authorize anyone age 18 or older to file a Medicaid application on his or her behalf provided that the authorization is in writing, identifies the individual or organization authorized to conduct business on his or her behalf, and is signed by the individual giving the authorization.

When an individual has been determined by a court to be legally incompetent or legally incapacitated, the individual’s legally appointed guardian or conservator is the individual’s authorized representative and can apply for Medicaid on the individual’s behalf. If an individual does not have a legal guardian or authorized representative and is mentally unable to sign an application or designate a representative, the individual’s spouse will be considered the authorized representative for Medicaid purposes. In situations where the individual is not married, is estranged from his or her spouse, or the spouse is unable to represent him or her, a relative of the individual who is willing to take responsibility for the individual’s Medicaid business may be considered his or her authorized representative. Relatives who may be considered authorized representatives in this situation are, in the following order of preference: the individual’s adult child; parent; adult sibling; adult niece or nephew; or adult aunt or uncle.

If it is determined that an individual cannot sign an application and does not have an attorney in-fact or authorized representative, a Medicaid application may be filed by someone other than an authorized person provided the individual’s inability to sign the Medicaid application is verified by a written statement from the individual’s doctor. The statement must indicate that the individual is unable to sign and file a Medicaid application because of his or her diagnosis or condition. The LDSS will pend the application until it can be appropriately signed if it is determined that court action has been initiated to have a guardian or committee appointed for the individual or until an Adult Protective Services investigation concludes that guardianship proceedings will not be initiated. Under no circumstances can an employee of, or an entity hired by, a medical service provider who stands to obtain Medicaid payment file a Medicaid application on behalf of an individual who cannot designate an authorized representative.

An application may be filed on behalf of a deceased person by his or her guardian or conservator, attorney-in-fact, executor or administrator of his or her estate, surviving spouse, or a surviving family member, in the following order of preference: adult child, parent, adult sibling, adult niece or nephew, or adult aunt or uncle. The application must be filed within a three-month period subsequent to the month of the individual’s death. Medicaid coverage can be effective no earlier than three months prior to the application month. Under no circumstances can an employee of, or an entity hired by, a medical service provider who stands to obtain Medicaid payment file a Medicaid application on behalf of a deceased individual.

Non-Medicaid Patient Relationship

Medicaid-eligible members who elect to be treated as private patients or who decline to verify their Medicaid eligibility with providers will be treated as private pay patients by the provider and by DMAS. Providers are required to furnish supporting documentation whenever patients fall into either of these categories.

Newborn Infant Eligibility

All newborn days, including claims for “well babies,” must be submitted separately. “Well baby” days cannot be processed as part of the mother’s per diem, and no information related to the newborn must appear on the mother’s claim.

A newborn is automatically considered eligible for Medicaid or FAMIS through age 1 year if the newborn’s mother was eligible for full coverage Medicaid or enrolled in FAMIS or FAMIS MOMS at the time she gave birth. A medical assistance application must be filed for any child whose mother was not eligible for Medicaid or enrolled in FAMIS/FAMIS MOMS at the time of the child’s birth.

An easy, streamlined way for hospitals to report the birth of the newborn is through the Medicaid Web Provider Portal under the link “E213”. Any hospital staff that have approval from their hospital and have access to the portal may report the newborn’s birth and receive the newborn’s Member ID within 2 business days via email. The provider can verify newborn eligibility from the card using two other identification keys, including name, social security number, and the date of birth. These can be used to access MediCall, the verification vendors, and the web-based system, ARS.

See Chapter I: General Information for more information on eligibility verification.

Medicaid Eligibility for Hospice Services

To be eligible to elect hospice as a Medicaid benefit, an individual must be entitled to Medicaid benefits and be certified as terminally ill. "Terminally ill" is defined as having a medical prognosis that life expectancy is six months or less. If the individual is eligible for Medicare as well as Medicaid, the hospice benefit must be elected or revoked concurrently under both programs.

Guidelines on Institutional Status

Federal regulations in 42 CFR 435.1009 prohibit federal financial participation in Medicaid services provided to two groups of individuals in institutions; these individuals are NOT eligible for Medicaid:

  • individuals who are inmates of a public institution, and
  • individuals under age 65 years who are patients in an institution for the treatment of mental diseases (IMD), unless they are under age 22 and are receiving inpatient psychiatric services. An IMD is a hospital, nursing facility or other institution with more than 16 beds that is primarily engaged in providing diagnosis, treatment or care, including medical attention, nursing care and related services, to persons with mental diseases. A psychiatric residential treatment facility for children and adolescents is an IMD. An Intermediate Care Facility for the Intellectually Disabled (ICF-ID) is not an IMD.

Inmates of a Public Institution

Inmates of public institutions fall into three groups:

  • individuals living in ineligible public institutions;
  • incarcerated adults; and
  • juveniles in detention.

An individual is an inmate of a public institution from the date of admission to the public institution until discharge, or from the date of actual incarceration in a prison, county or city jail or juvenile detention facility until permanent release, bail, probation or parole.

An individual is considered incarcerated until permanent release, bail, probation or parole. An individual who lives in a public residential facility that serves more than 16 residents is NOT eligible for Medicaid. The following are ineligible public institutions:

  • public residential institutions with more than 16 beds
  • residential facilities located on the grounds of, or adjacent to, a public institution with more than 16 beds.

Incarcerated Individuals

Incarcerated individuals (adults and juveniles) who are hospitalized can be eligible for Medicaid payment limited to services received during an inpatient hospitalization of 24 hours or longer, provided they meet all other Medicaid eligibility requirements.

Incarcerated individuals include:

  • individuals under the authority of the Virginia Department of Corrections (DOC) or Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ), and
  • individuals held in regional and local jails, including those on work release.

Individuals are not eligible for full benefit Medicaid coverage while they are living in a correctional facility, regional or local jail or juvenile facility.

An individual in prison or jail who transfers temporarily to a halfway house or residential treatment facility prior to a formal probation release order is still an inmate of a public institution and can only be eligible for Medicaid payment limited to services received during an inpatient hospitalization.

An individual released from jail under a court probation order due to a medical emergency is NOT an inmate of a public institution because he is no longer incarcerated.

Once an individual is released from the correctional facility, he can be enrolled in full benefit Medicaid, provided he meets all Medicaid eligibility requirements.


In determining whether a juvenile (individual under age 21 years) is incarcerated, the federal Medicaid regulations distinguish between the nature of the detention, pre- and postdisposition situations, and types of facilities.

a. Prior to Court Disposition

The following juveniles can be eligible for Medicaid payment limited to services received during an inpatient hospitalization.

  • Juvenile who is in a detention center due to criminal activity
  • Juvenile who has criminal charges pending (no court disposition has been made) who is ordered by the judge to go to a treatment facility, then come back to court for disposition when the treatment is completed

b. After Court Disposition

Juveniles who are on probation with a plan of release which includes residence in a detention center are inmates of a public institution. If they go to any of the secure juvenile correctional facilities, they are inmates of a public institution and can only be eligible for Medicaid payment limited to inpatient hospitalization. A list of secure detention facilities in Virginia is available on the Department of Juvenile Justice’s web site: me_Contacts_02242011rev.pdf.

If they go to a non-secure group home, they can be eligible for Medicaid or FAMIS because a non-secure group home is not a detention center. A juvenile who is in a detention center due to care, protection or in the best interest of the child can be eligible for full benefit Medicaid or Family Access to Medical Insurance Security (FAMIS) coverage.

c. Type of Facility

The type of facility, whether it is residential or medical and whether it is public or private must be determined. A juvenile is not eligible for full-benefit Medicaid if he/she is a resident of an ineligible public residential facility. He can be eligible for Medicaid coverage limited to inpatient hospitalization if he is admitted to a medical facility for inpatient services.

Who is Not an Inmate of a Public Institution

An individual is NOT an inmate of a public institution if:

  • The individual is in a public educational or vocational training institution for purposes of securing education or vocational training OR
  • The individual is in a public institution for a temporary period pending other arrangements appropriate to his needs. Individuals in public institutions for a temporary period include:
    • individuals admitted under a TDO
    • individuals arrested then admitted to a medical facility
    • inmates out on bail
    • individuals on probation (including a juvenile on conditional probation or probation in a secure treatment center), parole, or conditional release
    • juveniles in a detention center due to care, protection or in their best interest.

Member Appeals

The Code of Federal Regulations at 42 CFR §431, Subpart E, and the Virginia Administrative Code at 12VAC30-110-10 through 12VAC30-110-370, require that written notification be provided to individuals when DMAS or any of its contractors takes an action that affects the individual’s receipt of services. Most adverse actions may be appealed by the Medicaid member or by an authorized representative on behalf of the member. Adverse actions include partial approvals, denials, reductions in service, suspensions, and terminations. Also, failure to act on a request for services within required timeframes may be appealed. Members who are enrolled in an MCO may appeal to the MCO or directly to DMAS. For individuals who do not understand English, a translation of appeal rights that can be understood by the individual must be provided.

If an appeal is filed before the effective date of the action, or within 10 days of the date the notice of action was sent, services may continue during the appeal process. However, if the agency's action is upheld by the hearing officer, the member may be expected to repay DMAS for all services received during the appeal period. For this reason, the member may choose not to receive continued services. The provider will be notified by DMAS to reinstate services if continuation of services is applicable. If services are continued or reinstated due to an appeal, the provider may not terminate or reduce services until a decision is rendered by the hearing officer.

Member appeals must be requested in writing and postmarked or submitted within 30 days of receipt of the notice of adverse action. The member or his authorized representative may complete an Appeal Request Form. Forms are available on the internet at, or by calling (804) 371-8488.

If the member is not able to get the form, he may write a letter. The letter must include the name of the person whose request for benefits was denied, reduced, or cancelled. Also, the letter must include the person’s date of birth, social security number, case number, the agency that took the action, and the date of the action.

A copy of the notice or letter about the adverse action should be included with the appeal request. The appeal request must be sent to the:

Appeals Division
Department of Medical Assistance Services

600 E. Broad Street, 6th Floor
Richmond, Virginia 23219

Appeal requests may also be faxed to: (804) 452-5454

The Appeals Division will notify members of the date, time and location of the hearing if the appeal is valid and a hearing is granted. The hearing will be conducted by a DMAS Hearing Officer. Most hearings will be done by telephone.

The Hearing Officer’s decision is the final administrative decision by DMAS. If the member does not agree with the Hearing Officer’s decision, he/she may appeal it directly to the circuit court in the city or county of residence.