Even though it’s happening on April 1, 2023, it’s something that’s really happening.

It’s not a joke.

April 1, roughly 55,000 children currently receiving NC Health Choice coverage will move to NC Medicaid and begin receiving additional physical and behavioral health services.

The NC Department of Health and Human Services made the announcement on  Monday, Jan. 30 and stated that the coming change will both help save families money and increase their access to care.

According to an explanation from state health officials in the press release, “North Carolina currently has two similar, but different, programs that offer medical coverage for eligible children — NC Medicaid, funded through the federal Medicaid program, and NC Health Choice, funded through the federal Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). A provision included in the North Carolina state budget, approved in July 2022, directed the NC Department of Health and Human Services to move NC Health Choice beneficiaries from the NC Health Choice program to the Medicaid program. North Carolina joins 17 other states who have combined Medicaid/CHIP programs for children.”

Families with kids making the April transition will no longer have to pay enrollment fees or copays for medical visits and prescriptions. Also, according to state officials, they’ll have access to enhanced behavioral health services that weren’t previously covered by NC Health Choice.

People with NC Health Choice don’t need to take any action. The move to the Medicaid program will happen automatically and will go into effect on Saturday, April 1, 2023.

Deputy Secretary for NC Medicaid, Dave Richard said this should be a positive change all around.

“This is an exciting change and allows NCDHHS to provide additional benefits to children moving from NC Health Choice to Medicaid,” he stated. “This includes assistance getting to and from medical appointments through Non-Emergency Medical Transportation services and Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment — a benefit designed to discover and treat health conditions before they become serious.”

Those with kids in the NC Health Choice program should keep an eye out for a letter in the mail from their county’s Department of Social Services sometime in early March.

They’ll get a new program card in the mail – however, they will have the same Medicaid ID as before. People can continue to use the card they have now until the new one arrives.