RALIEGH, NC – December 1, 2023 – On December 1st, North Carolina officially became the 40th state to expand Medicaid, the federal program for health insurance for low-resource individuals. A state Medicaid expansion (ME) bill was passed by the General Assembly and signed by the Governor in March. However, the bill was tied directly to the 2023-24 state budget which was finally passed by the General Assembly on September 27th. ME was in the Affordable Care Act of 2010 and left to each state to decide in a subsequent Supreme Court ruling.
ME increases health care access to eligible North Carolinians ages 19-64 and their families with earnings from 100 percent of the federal poverty level to 138 percent. It is estimated that 600 thousand more North Carolinians will be eligible for Medicaid, including almost 17 thousand from Buncombe County.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) enrolled about 300 thousand people who lost their full-benefit Medicaid insurance when the COVID national emergency ended in April because they made too much money. However, HHS enrolled these people in a limited Medicaid benefit plan that provides family planning benefits for people who make up to 195 percent of the federal poverty level. Therefore, they will automatically be enrolled in Medicaid.
Expanding Medicaid will bring the state 8 billion federal dollars annually, almost 2 billion dollars to support behavioral health, public safety, and rural health care, and 2 billion dollars for starting the program this year.
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Contact: Dr. Dick Needleman, Health reporter, 103.3 AshevilleFM, email@example.com