Medicaid enrollment deadline extended; uncertainty looms

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- As much of eastern North Carolina was bracing for an impact from Hurricane Dorian, the NC Department of Health and Human Services quietly extended the deadline for Medicaid enrollment for 27 counties from its original Sept. 13 deadline to Dec. 13.

"I was expecting something in the mail," said Raleigh homeowner Pam Lechuga. "(I want) knowledgeable folks answering the phones to make it an easy process because it doesn't make a whole lot of sense."

Lechuga's daughter, Brooke, has rare disorders and has been seeing UNC doctors for years. When she first inquired about the open enrollment period, she believed UNC would not be under managed care and she would have needed to find a new provider for her daughter's care.

"I can't just send her to somebody who has no idea about the insurance and her medical condition and how it's going to pay out," Lechuga added.

With the new Dec. 13 deadline, all 100 of the state's counties will share the same deadline for the enrollment period.

While the new deadline buys her and her daughter time to maintain current care, UNC's response to ABC11's request for comment on Medicaid coverage still leaves her uncertain.

In a Sept. 11 email, UNC wrote: "UNC Health Care is currently negotiating will all Medicaid Managed Care plans. Provided they can meet our contracting expectations, we anticipate contracting with all of them."

"They said anticipate," Lechuga clarified. "It's still not a guarantee."

All selected plans will become active on Feb. 1, 2020.

ABC11 also reached out to Duke and WakeMed. Neither responded to our request for comment.
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