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Medicaid enrollees exceed 270k on day one of expansion

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(The Center Square) – A new Medicaid expansion dashboard that will track enrollments in North Carolina on a monthly basis shows more than 270,000 gained coverage on day one.

The majority of the 272,937 enrolled by Medicaid expansion on Dec. 1 were part of the family planning population who were automatically moved to full coverage. The platform, which offers breakdowns based on plan type, location, age, race, ethnicity and other demographics, will be updated monthly.

It’s also in addition to the Department of Health and Human Services’ existing Medicaid Enrollment dashboard.

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

While 75% of those enrolled, or 205,847, live in urban areas and 25%, or 67,090, live in rural areas, the percentage of rural enrollees exceeds the proportion of North Carolinians between the ages of 19 and 64 who live in rural areas.

The data shows counties with the highest portion of adults enrolled include Anson, Edgecombe, Richmond and Robeson. The North Carolina Health Department reports an additional 84,000 have applied for Medicaid through Dec. 15.

“The work of the department, community partners and County DSS offices is resulting in thousands and thousands of people checking to see if they’re eligible for NC Medicaid,” Medicaid Deputy Secretary Jay Ludlam said in a statement. “We encourage everyone to share materials, volunteer and take other opportunities to help spread the word about Medicaid expansion to family members, friends, neighbors and other members of their communities.”

While North Carolina expanded Medicaid to roughly 600,000 eligible residents on Dec. 1, a nonpartisan health policy research group is forecasting a nosedive in national enrollments next year. KFF, an independent nonprofit research, polling and journalism entity, released an analysis in November that projected steep enrollment declines and rising state spending on the government insurance program as pandemic policies expire.

Federal Medicaid rules that prohibited states from removing members without losing increased pandemic funding added 23 million people to the program in recent years, while the enhanced federal funding cut state spending on Medicaid to prepandemic levels. The continuous enrollment provision expired in April, and states are now working through eligibility redeterminations, a process known as “unwinding.”

A KFF survey of Medicaid directors in 48 states and Washington, D.C., forecasts an 8.6% decline in enrollments nationally for the 2024 fiscal year, the largest annual decline since the foundation began collecting data in 1998.

In NC, the unwinding has resulted in 184,375 North Carolinians who were determined ineligible or had coverage ended for procedural reasons through November, according to the NC Medicaid Continuous Coverage Unwinding Dashboard.

Currently, about 2.8 million North Carolinians are enrolled in Medicaid.

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