North Carolina reports nearly 300,000 Medicaid enrollments in weeks after expansion


The number of North Carolina residents enrolled in Medicaid under the state’s new coverage for low-income adults is nearing 300,000 in the first weeks of the program, the state Department of Health and Human Services says.

Medicaid expansion began Dec. 1 in North Carolina, after Republican legislators and Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper agreed to legislation this year that accepted the coverage offered to states through the 2010 Affordable Care Act.

The expansion coverage applies to people ages 19-64 who make too much to qualify for traditional Medicaid but not enough to benefit much from government-subsidized private insurance.

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As of Dec. 12, the latest figures available from DHHS, there were 280,000 expansion enrollees. Nearly 273,000 were enrolled and covered by expansion on Dec. 1, with the first-day total largely coming from people who were already receiving Medicaid for family-planning coverage and were moved automatically through expansion for broader medical care.

As the start date for expansion neared, the Cooper administration estimated that close to 300,000 would be enrolled on day one, with ultimately 600,000 receiving coverage over time.

Democratic North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper signs a Medicaid expansion law at the Executive Mansion on March 27, 2023, in Raleigh, North Carolina. (AP Photo/Hannah Schoenbaum)

The data comes as DHHS unveiled on Wednesday an online dashboard that will update monthly expansion enrollment and demographic and health care trends. For example, the agency says, the dashboard shows the highest percentages of adults 19-64 now covered by Medicaid are in four rural counties — Anson, Edgecombe, Richmond and Robeson.

DHHS also said more than 84,000 people had applied for Medicaid through Dec. 15, with county social service officials processing the application. And 49,000 prescriptions have been filled for expansion enrollees as of Dec. 12.

“Hundreds of people each day are gaining health care coverage and getting the care they need,” state health Secretary Kody Kinsley said in a news release. “Our work continues with state and community partners to support enrollment efforts to ensure as many people as possible can get covered.”

The state continues to operate an online dashboard that keeps track of overall Medicaid enrollment, which was about 2.85 million people as of November.

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North Carolina was the 40th state, along with the District of Columbia, to implement Medicaid expansion.



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