North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services Secretary, Kody Kinsley, along with Governor Roy Cooper, shared news that will positively impact the lives of over 600,000 of the state’s most vulnerable residents. Starting from December 1st, Medicaid expansion in North Carolina will become a reality. This crucial development will start a new era of healthcare accessibility for those who need it most.
State legislators had previously agreed to expand Medicaid access months ago, but the process was delayed due to a protracted state budget negotiation. However, that delay is now in the past, and the expanded healthcare coverage is set to become a reality in December.
What Does the Medicaid Expansion Mean in North Carolina
To start, one of the most promising aspects of this expansion is the automatic enrollment of around 300,000 North Carolinians currently receiving Medicaid Family Planning benefits into full health coverage. This move will significantly reduce bureaucratic hurdles and ensure that those in need can access healthcare without unnecessary delays.
From December onwards, adults aged 19 to 64 who earn up to 138% of the federal poverty level will also become eligible for Medicaid. For a single individual, this threshold is set at under $20,000 a year, while for a family of three, it’s under $34,000. This expansion ensures that a wider segment of the population can access healthcare services, promoting the overall well-being of North Carolinians.
This expansion became a possibility under the Affordable Care Act, and it took considerable effort to bring it to fruition. Notably, Senate leader Phil Berger reversed his stance on expansion, leading to productive negotiations for its passage. Instead of a standalone bill, it was included in the budget.
Who’s Eligible for Medicaid?
Medicaid is a government-funded healthcare program in the United States, providing medical coverage to eligible low-income individuals and families. Established in 1965 as part of the Social Security Act, Medicaid is jointly financed by federal and state governments, with each state administering its own program under federal guidelines.
The Medicaid program is intended to ensure that vulnerable populations have access to healthcare services. It covers a wide range of medical expenses, including doctor visits, hospital stays, prescription drugs, preventive care, and long-term care services, such as nursing home care. Eligibility for Medicaid is determined by factors like income, household size, and disability status, varying from state to state.
Eligibility for Medicaid is primarily determined by income and household size. To qualify, applicants must meet specific income thresholds set by their state of residence, which can vary. Typically, Medicaid is available to individuals and families with incomes below the federal poverty level, although some states have expanded coverage to include those with slightly higher incomes.
In addition to income requirements, eligibility may also take into account factors such as age, disability status, pregnancy, and immigration status. Certain groups, such as children, pregnant women, and individuals with disabilities, often have more accessible pathways to Medicaid coverage.