Congress Fails to Act; Alert on Possible FAMIS Cancellation To Be Sent

December 11, 2017

Commonwealth of Virginia

Office of Governor Terry McAuliffe

  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  December 11, 2017 Office of the Governor Contact: Brian Coy Email:

Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services to Notify CHIP Recipients of Potential Loss of Benefits Due to Congressional Inaction

RICHMOND – The Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services (DMAS) will begin notifying Virginia families with one or more family members who are enrolled in the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) that they could lose their coverage unless the United States Congress reauthorizes the program soon. If Congress does not reauthorize CHIP funding, Virginia will run out of funding for its program, called FAMIS, on January 31st. The letters are intended to warn families of that possibility and inform them about steps they can take now to prepare while they wait for Congress to act. As of December 1st, there were 68,495 Virginia children and 1,114 pregnant women who stood to lose coverage if Congress fails to reauthorize funding for CHIP. “It is truly shameful that gridlock and dysfunction in Congress have left nearly 70,000 Virginians who depend on the FAMIS program hanging in limbo,” said Governor McAuliffe. “After delaying these notifications to give Congress as much time to act as possible, Virginia has a responsibility to these families to inform them of the possibility that their coverage could lapse so they can be as prepared as possible to explore alternatives. It is past time for Congress to reauthorize this program so that these Virginians can have the certainty they deserve.” The letter which is excerpted below will be mailed tomorrow. A subsequent communication will be made in the event that Congress reauthorizes the CHIP program and no further action is necessary, or if they fail to reauthorize it and coverage will be terminated.  

Important Information About FAMIS and FAMIS MOMS

FAMIS and FAMIS MOMS are paid for by state and federal funds through the Children’s Health Insurance Program known as CHIP. For 20 years CHIP has had the strong support of Congress and has been renewed many times. We are hopeful that Congress will once again provide the funding to continue this program.  However, because Congress has not acted yet, we need to let you know that there is a chance the FAMIS programs may have to shut down. If Congress does not act soon, the FAMIS programs will end on January 31, 2018.

 Important Things for You to Know

  • Right now, there are NO changes to your family’s FAMIS benefits. FAMIS and FAMIS MOMS members can still get ALL of their health care services.
  • We are hopeful that Congress will act soon and the FAMIS programs will continue to help thousands of families like yours. However, if Congress does not renew federal funds for CHIP in time, you will get another letter in January telling you when FAMIS benefits will end. At that time, we will give you more information about what else you may qualify for and who you can call for help.
  • This does not affect Medicaid – only FAMIS and FAMIS MOMS.
 Here’s What You Can Do Right Now
  1.  Visit for regular updates or call 1-855-242-8282 to speak with someone who can answer your questions.
  2. If any FAMIS members need medical or dental care, make an appointment to visit your doctor or dentist before January 31.
  3. If you or your family gets a letter telling you that it is time to renew your FAMIS benefits, follow the instructions and renew your coverage as soon as you can.
  4. You may want to talk to your employer(s) to see if they offer coverage for children or pregnant women.
We will keep you informed of what is happening through the mail and our website If you have questions about this letter call 1-855-242-8282.

NOTE:  This will likely affect many of our staff; it is important that we are well informed and that we keep the pressure on our members of Congress to do the right thing and fund the CHIP program!