Medicaid expansion begins in North Carolina

North Carolina's Medicaid expansion program began Dec. 1. 

An estimated 600,000 people will be eligible for full Medicaid coverage, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. Nearly 300,000 who had limited Medicaid family planning benefits were automatically enrolled on the first day of expansion. 

North Carolina is the 40th state to expand Medicaid under the ACA. CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure called the expansion a "major step forward towards equity in health for all North Carolinians, especially those in underserved communities, as well as helping to support hospitals across the state," according to a Dec. 1 agency news release.

"It’s crucial that the ten remaining states expand their Medicaid programs so that the millions of people in the coverage gap today can receive the essential health care they need," she said. 

ECU Health CFO Andy Zukowski recently told Becker's he was thankful for North Carolina officials' work to expand the program. 

"It expands access to care to so many thousands of people across the state and we have a number of those patients here in Eastern Carolina," Mr. Zukowski said. "It's a real critical element, a great program, I think for healthcare here in North Carolina." 

Ahead of the expansion, the state began distributing $2.6 billion to 102 hospitals. The funds came through the federal Healthcare Access and Stabilization Program — which the state joined as part of the Medicaid expansion legislation passed earlier this year — and are helping hospitals pay for the non-federal share costs of expansion.

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