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The original item was published from 10/10/2023 2:41:48 PM to 10/10/2023 2:44:24 PM.

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Health Department

Posted on: October 10, 2023

[ARCHIVED] Medicaid Expansion

Medicaid Expansion starts Dec. 1

Medicaid Expansion starts Dec. 1

More people can get health care coverage through Medicaid.


Beginning Dec. 1, 2023, more people can get health coverage through Medicaid. Medicaid will cover people ages 19 through 64 years with higher incomes. North Carolinians may be able to get health care insurance through Medicaid even if they didn’t qualify before. 

Medicaid pays for doctor visits, yearly check-ups, emergency care, mental health services and more – at little or no cost to beneficiaries. 

Most people will be able to get health care coverage through Medicaid if they meet the criteria below. And if you were eligible before, you still are. Nothing changes for you. To learn more, go to medicaid.ncdhhs.gov.

  • Live in North Carolina
  • Be ages 19-64
  • Be a citizen. Some non-US citizens can get health care coverage through Medicaid. To learn more, go to medicaid.ncdhhs.gov.
  • Have a household income that is below 138% of the federal poverty level. That’s about $20,000 for a single adult or about $34,000 for a family of three.

People can apply for Medicaid online at epass.nc.gov. They can also submit a paper application or apply in person at their local Department of Social Services (DSS). Applications may take up to 45 days to process. Incomplete applications may take longer. To help the process go faster, people can:

  • Apply online at ePASS and provide all the information requested. If the application is incomplete, it may take longer to process. DSS will need to follow up with the applicant.
  • Keep contact information up to date in ePASS, to receive all important information about Medicaid benefits.
    • Sign up for an enhanced ePASS account to keep their information updated without having to contact the local DSS office.

To learn more, visit Medicaid.ncdhhs.gov.


General Questions

Is North Carolina expanding access to Medicaid?

Yes. More North Carolinians will be able get health care coverage through Medicaid. Beginning December 1, 2023, NC Medicaid will cover people aged 19 through 64 years with higher incomes. Many North Carolinians who did not qualify for health coverage through NC Medicaid before, may soon qualify.

  • What health services will North Carolina cover?
    • Health coverage through Medicaid is comprehensive. Because these services are covered by Medicaid, they are provided at no cost or low cost to you. Services include, but are not limited to:
      • primary care so you go to a doctor for a check-up or when you are not feeling well
      • hospital services when you need to stay overnight (inpatient) or when can go home the same day (outpatient)
      • maternity and postpartum care if you are pregnant and after giving birth
      • vision and hearing services
      • prescription drug benefits
      • behavioral health
      • preventative and wellness services
      • devices and other therapies
  • When will more people be able to get health coverage through NC Medicaid?
    • Beginning December 1, 2023, more North Carolinians will be able to get health coverage through NC Medicaid.
  • Who will be able to get health coverage through NC Medicaid?
    • Most people can get health care coverage through Medicaid if they meet the criteria below. If you were eligible before, you still are. Nothing changes for you.
    • Eligibility criteria:
      • You live in North Carolina
      • Age 19 through 64
      • You are a citizen. Some non-US citizens can get health coverage through NC Medicaid. (Answered separately.)
      • And if your household income fits within the chart below:
      Household size
      Annual income
      Single Adults
      $20,120 or less
      Family of 2
      $27,214 or less
      Family of 3
      $34,307 or less
      Family of 4
      $41,400 or less
      Family of 5
      $48,493 or less
      Family of 6
      $55,586 or less
  • How can I apply for Medicaid?

  • How long will it take to find out if I’m eligible for Medicaid once I apply?

    • It may take up to 45 days after you apply. Incomplete applications may take longer. If your application is incomplete or we need more information, you will hear from your local DSS office requesting additional information. You may be contacted by mail, phone, email and/or text message, so it is important to make sure your contact information is up to date and complete to make sure that your caseworker can reach you.

  • Are non-US citizens eligible for health care coverage through NC Medicaid?

    • Some non-US citizens can get health coverage through Medicaid. To be eligible you must be:

      • A person living in North Carolina
      • A qualified non-citizen for at least five years
        • This means a person must wait five years after receiving “qualified” immigration status before they can get Medicaid.
        • There are exceptions. For example, refugees, asylees, or lawful permanent residents who used to be refugees or asylees don’t have to wait five years.

      Non-citizens without documents who do not qualify for full health coverage under Medicaid may be able to get temporary coverage for emergency conditions that need to be treated in an emergency room.

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