N.C. Medicaid expansion will launch in December

(Courtesy The News & Observer)

Governor Roy Cooper and NC Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kody H. Kinsley announced today that DHHS will launch Medicaid Expansion on Dec. 1, 2023, giving more than 600,000 North Carolinians access to health care.

“Finally expanding Medicaid in North Carolina is a monumental achievement that will extend health insurance to people who need it,” said Governor Cooper. “This means better health care, including those with mental health and substance use disorders, hope for rural hospitals struggling to stay open and billions of dollars for our economy. This action is long overdue, and we aren’t wasting a moment in beginning enrollment in North Carolina.”

On Friday, Governor Cooper announced that he would allow the state budget passed by the General Assembly to become law and directed NCDHHS to immediately begin the process to start Medicaid expansion in North Carolina.

Even while the budget stalled in the state legislature, NCDHHS worked with county and community partners to be ready to launch so people could get the care they desperately needed as soon as possible. On Friday, Governor Cooper and Sec. Kinsley spoke with federal leaders of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services about the urgent need to begin enrollment.

“This work will yield results,” Governor Cooper said. On Dec. 1, 2023, the Department anticipates approximately 300,000 eligible people currently receiving Medicaid Family Planning benefits will automatically be enrolled in full health care coverage.

“More than 600,000 people in North Carolina will get the health care coverage they have been waiting for,” said NCDHHS Secretary Kody H. Kinsley. “Medicaid Expansion is the most significant investment in the health of North Carolina in decades and represents billions of dollars of investment each year that helps keep clinics, providers and hospital doors open.”

Medicaid Expansion increases the eligible population to adults aged 19-64 who have incomes up to 138% of the federal poverty level. For example, expansion gives health care coverage to single individuals making under $20,000 a year. Likewise, a family of three earning under $34,000 combined will now be eligible. Beneficiaries will get care the same way as existing Medicaid beneficiaries and be eligible for the same comprehensive benefits and copays as other non-disabled adults in Medicaid. More communications will be coming soon, and information about Medicaid Expansion is on the FAQhere and Spanish FAQ here.

Medicaid expansion will be transformative for access to health care in rural areas, for better mental health and for veterans, working adults and their families while bringing billions in federal dollars to the state.

North Carolina is one of 41 states that has expanded Medicaid since it was authorized in 2014, though state legislators delayed enrollment until passage of the state budget.

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