Virginia Health Care Foundation Receives $250,000 Donation from Optima Health to Help Promote New Medicaid Coverage




RICHMOND, Va. (December 4, 2018)—The Virginia Health Care Foundation (VHCF) announced today that it has received a $250,000 donation from Optima Health to support activities to promote the state’s new eligibility criteria for Medicaid and to maximize enrollment.

VHCF Executive Director Deborah Oswalt commented, “Comprehensive coverage is critical to improving health. By making Medicaid available to 400,000 currently uninsured Virginians, the Governor and General Assembly have brought healthcare and peace of mind to many low income hardworking adults and others in need of care. We are incredibly grateful to Optima Health for working with us to get the word out. As a public/private partnership, we will use Optima’s donation to complement the promotional efforts of the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services.” (Note: this is Virginia’s Medicaid Agency.)

The Commonwealth of Virginia has allocated $750,000 to educate the newly eligible Medicaid population through outreach. The donation from Virginia-based Optima Health will increase the total amount available to promote the new Medicaid rules via outreach activities to $1 million.

Dennis Matheis, President of Optima Health, described the impetus for the donation, stating, “Full enrollment in Medicaid is vital in order for Virginia to have healthy, thriving communities. We view our donation as part of our social responsibility to support the Commonwealth in its efforts to educate our friends, family, and neighbors that this new health insurance opportunity exists.” Mr. Matheis noted this donation is separate and in addition to Optima Health’s marketing of its own line of Medicaid products. Optima Health is a service of Sentara Healthcare.

In June 2018, Governor Ralph Northam signed legislation to expand Medicaid’s eligibility criteria, making Virginia the 33rd state to take advantage of the federal opportunity to decrease the number of uninsured via Medicaid insurance. As a result, U.S. citizens between the ages of 19 and 64 years who do not qualify for Medicare and have incomes from zero to 138 percent of the Federal Poverty Level will now be able to obtain health coverage. Certain noncitizen residents with appropriate documentation are also eligible.

Dr. Jennifer Lee, Director of the Department of Medical Assistance Services explained, “More than 100,000 Virginia adults are already enrolled and will receive life-changing health coverage starting January 1. This is a truly inspiring accomplishment, but we know that many more are eligible. We are committed to working with our partners to make sure every eligible Virginia adult has the opportunity to see a doctor for preventive check-ups and regular care for chronic diseases. It’s vital that we get the word out that our Medicaid eligibility rules have changed, and those who have applied unsuccessfully in the past should try again.”

Those who want to determine if they are eligible for Medicaid may call Cover Virginia at 855-242-8282, or visit the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Medicaid website at  Applications for this new coverage are available now.


About the Virginia Health Care Foundation

The Virginia Health Care Foundation is a non-profit public/private partnership with a mission to increase access to primary health care for uninsured and medically underserved Virginians. The Foundation was initiated by the General Assembly and its Joint Commission on Health Care in 1992. Since its inception, it has led private sector outreach and enrollment activities for state-sponsored health insurance and funded 407 community-based projects throughout the Commonwealth. Its programs and partnerships have touched the lives of more than 700,000 uninsured Virginians. For more information about VHCF, visit or call 804-828-5804.

About Optima Health

Optima Health, based in Virginia, provides health insurance coverage to more than 510,000 members. With more than 30 years of experience, Optima Health offers a suite of commercial products including consumer-directed, employee-owned and employer-sponsored plans, individual health plans, employee assistance programs and plans serving Medicare and Medicaid enrollees. Its provider network features 26,000 providers including specialists, primary care physicians and hospitals across Virginia. Optima Health also offers programs to support members with chronic illnesses, customized wellness programs and integrated clinical and behavioral health services, as well as pharmacy management—all to help members improve their health every day. The company’s goals are to provide better health, be easy to use and offer services that are a great value. Optima Health is a service of Sentara Healthcare. To learn more about Optima Health, visit


Last Updated on December 4, 2018