Governor Signs McClellan Bill to Help Virginians Reduce Health Costs Care Through State Exchange

Governor Signs McClellan Bill to Help Virginians Reduce Health Costs Care Through State Exchange

New Law Will Provide Virginians with Information on How to Save Money Through Enrolling in Virginia Health Benefit Exchange 

RICHMOND, Va. – On Friday, April 8, Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R-Virginia) signed Sen. Jennifer McClellan’s  (D-Richmond) bill to provide more Virginians with information about how to save money on their health care under the state-based health exchange. The new law will go into effect July 1.

SB 469 passed the Senate unanimously in February and passed the House with bipartisan support in March. Del. Sam Rasoul (D-Roanoke) carried a companion bill, HB 312, which passed both the House and the Senate. 

McClellan’s law directs the Virginia Health Benefit Exchange to develop a budget and plan for strengthening marketing and navigator services. This will enable increased awareness of marketplace insurance options and the availability of subsidies, empower individuals to pick which plans best fit their unique situations, and help reduce the costs of premiums. 

Legislation passed with bipartisan support in 2020 – carried by Sen. McClellan in the Senate and Del. Mark Sickles (D-Fairfax) in the House – created the Virginia Health Benefit Exchange under the provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Exchange is in the process of being implemented by the State Corporation Commission. 

“Too many Virginians are facing high premiums for their health insurance,” Sen. McClellan said. “This new law and the new state-based exchange will provide major cost relief to Virginians, providing better coverage at a reduced cost. By equipping the state-based exchange with improved navigation tools, we are empowering more Virginians to get the health care they need at a lower cost. This new law takes an important step to ensure all Virginians are properly insured with the health-care that best fits their individual needs.”

McClellan and Rasoul’s 2022 bill is a recommendation of the Joint Commission on Health Care, as part of its study addressing health insurance marketplace affordability in the individual market. They both serve on the Commission.

“Health insurance premiums are no longer affordable for many Virginians”, said Del. Rasoul. “Creating this state-based exchange will aid Virginians in acquiring affordable, quality health coverage. Lowering the cost of health care is imperative, especially now. And by implementing a new marketing plan within this system, we will be able to reach more individuals and better help consumers.”

By increasing awareness and assistance for applicants, it will boost enrollment in the individual market in a cost-effective manner while reducing the number of people uninsured and adding young individuals into the marketplace. More than half of people surveyed nationally, ranging from ages 18 to 34, are unaware that they might qualify for financial assistance through the Affordable Care Act and are unaware of varying health insurance options. 

Having additional younger and healthier enrollees is one of the most effective ways to ensure low and stable health insurance premiums, which has been a challenge in Virginia. Across the Commonwealth, premiums increased by 53 percent from 2016 to 2021, leading to a 21% drop in enrollment in the individual market. About two-thirds of those who dropped their enrollment were those aged between 18 and 34. 

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Jennifer McClellan was elected to the Senate of Virginia in 2017 after serving 11 years in the House of Delegates. She has been a leader on fighting climate change, strengthening public education and dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline, protecting voting rights, enacting criminal justice reform, combating domestic and sexual violence, and fighting discrimination of all kinds.