Medicaid Expansion, which went into effect December 1, is expected to have big benefits for rural areas in North Carolina, according to health care providers who work in those parts of the state.
Al Goddard, a physician assistant who runs Colerain Primary Care in eastern North Carolina, notes that for the 600,000 North Carolinians who will gain access to Medicaid health insurance, it could mean the difference between life and death.
“They can now get their regular lab tests. They can come in regularly for their office visits,” he said. “They have a chance now.”
Irena Johnson, a community health worker in northeastern North Carolina, notes how a lack of transportation prevents many people in her community in Ahoskie from accessing care.
“There’s no Uber, there’s no Lyft. No. You either have a car, or you’re walking — or the mobile [health clinic’s] coming to you.” she said. Luckily, Medicaid covers the cost for certain transportation, including medical transport.
Across North Carolina, providers and the state health department are preparing for an influx of applications for people enrolling in Medicaid plans, and to re-invest additional Medicaid revenue back into communities to improve health outcomes, according to Health Secretary Kody Kinsley.
“We’ve got to invest our resources in what we know drives health,” Kinsley said. “Primary care providers and behavioral health that help drive down costs and improve health across individuals for their life span.”
To learn if you are eligible for Medicaid and to sign up, visit https://medicaid.ncdhhs.gov/.