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State Department of Health and Healthcare Providers Prepare for Dec. 1 Medicaid Launch

Source: Editorial Staff

In just a few weeks, Medicaid expansion will take place in North Carolina, giving more than 600,000 people access to healthcare coverage for the first time.

On December 1, over 300,000 low-income North Carolinians will automatically enroll once the coverage takes effect. 

“Getting eligible North Carolinians registered for Medicaid expansion is a top priority, and it’s monumental that we can automatically enroll up to 300,000 people whose coverage will go into effect December 1,” stated Governor Roy Cooper in a press release. “As we prepare for more people to sign up, we want to make sure automatic enrollees look for information that’s coming in the mail.”

According to N.C. Health News, the expanded healthcare coverage extends eligibility to North Carolinians who make 138 percent of the federal poverty level or less.

In addition, single adults, a population that was effectively ineligible for coverage before expansion, will qualify if they earn less than $20,000 a year, according to N.C. Health News. 

“We’ve been working on this for a long time,” Kody H. Kinsley, NCDHHS Secretary, told N.C. Health News. “Every part of the department is involved and excited about this.”

In the last week, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) begun contacting up to 300,000 North Carolinians who are enrolled in Medicaid’s limited Family Planning program and are eligible for full NC Medicaid benefits starting on Dec. 1.

The department has also updated its systems to handle the anticipated surge of inquiries once Medicaid expansion launches, and has worked with the state’s provider network to ensure that new Medicaid participants have access to care, N.C. Health News reports.

For rural providers, the expansion is important, as gaining access to critical care could mean life or death for hundreds of thousands of rural North Carolinians.

“When a person has a choice between, ‘Do I pay the light bill and buy groceries, or do I buy medicine? I got to do one or the other.’ And there’s still people that are facing those kind of tough choices,” Al Goddard, a physician assistant from eastern North Carolina, told WFAE

“At least they can now get their regular lab tests. They can come in regularly for their office visits,” Goddard added. “They have a chance now.”

For more information about expanded eligibility for NC Medicaid, go to the NCDHHS website.

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