Medicaid expansion launches

Published 10:31 am Thursday, December 7, 2023

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Medicaid expansion officially arrived Dec. 1 across the state, extending health care 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 Dec. 1.

Locally, Willie Smith, Gates County DSS Director, said they estimated a possible range of 250-450 new Medicaid cases with the expansion, but emphasized that they don’t know for sure yet how many of those people will qualify if they apply.

However, as Smith explained, the expansion did change the income limits and ages for eligibility, which will bring many people out of a “gray area” where they needed assistance but didn’t previously meet qualifications.

“After years of fighting for high-quality health care for every person in our state, the launch of Medicaid expansion means more than 600,000 North Carolinians can now access the care they need to stay healthier, treat sickness earlier and have the peace of mind knowing health care is within their reach.” said Governor Roy Cooper. “Together with our partners in communities across the state, we will get the word out and help more people sign up for this life-changing care.”

Medicaid expansion will cover people ages 19 through 64 years with higher incomes, closing the coverage gap for North Carolinians. For example, expansion gives health care coverage to single individuals making under $20,000 a year. Likewise, 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 Dec. 1 with full Medicaid health care coverage,” said North Carolina Department of 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.”

NCDHHS launched a portal that includes information on income requirements, flyers with more information, videos on how to apply and other essential information.

NCDHHS is partnering with community leaders to help get the word out to North Carolinians. People across the state can sign up to volunteer in a variety of ways including sharing materials, giving community presentations, volunteering at events and more. Community-based organizations, health workers, community advocates and others can complete this form to help spread the word about Medicaid.

More information about NC Medicaid is available in online FAQs (Spanish FAQs). To find out if you’re eligible or to apply for Medicaid, visit