North Carolina hasn’t been offering the option for expanded Medicaid long, but state health officials stated on Monday, Jan. 22, that they are already seeing a big influx of users taking advantage of the option, especially young adults and those who live in rural communities.

Dec. 1, 2023 the state expanded who’s eligible for Medicaid – and now more than 314,000 North Carolinians have enrolled in the program. They therefore now have access to comprehensive health care.

 The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) has created an online “Medicaid Expansion Enrollment Dashboard” to track participation in the program, and the numbers just keep going up.

A January press release from NCDHHS offered some demographic info on those using the program under the expanded offering: “Large numbers of those enrolling through Medicaid expansion are young adults and/or live in rural areas. Nearly one in three are between 19 and 29 years old. New enrollees disproportionately live in rural communities with Anson, Edgecombe, Richmond and Robeson counties having some of the highest enrollment rates of adults to date.”

The press release goes on to state that, not only are people enrolling, but they’re also getting and using the offered medicines and taking advantage of doctor and dentist visits.

Medicaid has covered more than 150,000 prescriptions for new enrollees and paid out more than $2.5 million in claims for dental services since December 1.

“We can already see the important impact expansion has on improving the health and lives of North Carolinians,” said NCDHHS Secretary Kody Kinsley this week. “They are our neighbors, child care specialists, construction workers, veterans, loved ones struggling with behavioral health challenges or substance use, and so many others.”

The state is also promoting extensive efforts to spread the word about Medicaid expansion and is encouraging those eligible to apply.

More than 215 partners in all 100 counties are sharing information on Medicaid expansion in their communities.

NC Medicaid Deputy Secretary Jay Ludlam said this week that NCDHHS recently trained 1,000 people from health centers, libraries, county DSS offices, food pantries and other organizations on how to help people apply for Medicaid.