RALEIGH, N.C. (WITN) – After a decade of debate and delays, Medicaid Expansion became a reality in North Carolina on Friday.
According to officials at the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, the launch of Medicaid expansion extended healthcare coverage to more than 600,000 newly eligible North Carolinians through NC Medicaid.
Of those individuals, 300,000 North Carolinians were receiving limited Medicaid Family Planning benefits and have been automatically enrolled to receive full health care coverage through NC Medicaid starting today.
“Medicaid expansion is the working families bill of the decade,” said North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper. “For the workers in our communities who perform some of our most essential tasks – caring for our children, tending to the sick and elderly, stocking our grocery shelves, staffing our restaurants, all not getting paid enough as it is – this law will bring many of them the opportunity for better health and a better life.”
According to NCDHHS, Medicaid expansion will cover people ages 19 through 64 years with higher incomes, closing the healthcare coverage gap for North Carolinians.
For example, the new expansion program gives healthcare coverage to single individuals who earn under $20,000 a year. Similarly, a family of three earning less than $34,000 combined is now eligible.
Medicaid pays for doctor visits, yearly check-ups, emergency care, mental health, and more — at little or no cost to participants.
“More than 300,000 North Carolinians woke up today with full Medicaid health care coverage,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Kody H. Kinsley. “This is a historic moment that will change North Carolina for the better, improving the health of our people and the health of our economy. It is the most significant investment in health care in North Carolina’s history.”
If you believe you are eligible for Medicaid, you can apply online through ePASS – a secure, self-service website at ePASS.nc.gov. When you apply online, you can avoid having to go in person to your local Department of Social Services (DSS) office. If your application is complete, NCDHHS says it may be processed faster.
If you cannot apply online, you can apply in person at your local DSS office, by calling your local DSS office oryou by mailing in a paper application available at medicaid.nc.gov/print-application. To find your local DSS office, go to ncdhhs.gov/localDSS.