NC Medicaid expansion takes effect, here's how to enroll and see who's eligible

Friday, December 1, 2023
NC Medicaid expansion takes effect
600,000 people statewide are now eligible for healthcare coverage that they otherwise could not afford.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The start of North Carolina's long-awaited expansion of Medicaid begins on Dec. 1. That's when 600,000 people statewide will be eligible for healthcare coverage that they otherwise could not afford.

But who is eligible? And how do you apply?

Eight months ago, Gov. Roy Cooper hailed Medicaid expansion as historic for the state.

"This law, when implemented, will be the working families bill of the decade," Cooper said at the bill signing in March. And starting this Friday, the governor's "bill of the decade" takes effect.

Who is eligible for free or low-cost healthcare coverage through Medicaid expansion?

Adults ages 19 through 64 who earn up to 138% of the federal poverty line. That's a single person earning about $20,000/year or a family of three earning about $34,000.

How comprehensive is this Medicaid health coverage?

"It's very comprehensive," Debra Farrington told ABC11. Farrington is deputy secretary of health equity at the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. "People can see their primary care physician; they can get urgent care services; people will be able to have prescriptions filled; and get much-needed preventative care like mammograms."

The website to enroll is already online. On, users can find out if they're eligible. Starting Friday, consumers can apply in person at their county's social services office or apply by phone or by mail.

The fastest way to apply should be the state's Epass system on the website.

Got questions about Medicaid expansion eligibility and how to sign up? We've got answers.

"The time (to complete enrollment) varies, obviously, based on how long each of the county offices need to take to process the application," Farrington said "But the good news is, it doesn't matter what time of the month that you apply for coverage. If you apply during the month of December, your coverage will be retroactive to Dec. 1."

Another important note is unlike the insurance marketplace on where you must enroll at a very specific time of the year, consumers can apply for Medicaid at any time.