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CHARLOTTE CENTER FOR LEGAL ADVOCACY APPLAUDS MEDICAID EXPANSION
Health insurance navigators help applicants and watch for smooth implementation
December 6, 2023
Charlotte, N.C. – Health insurance navigators with the Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy continue to help consumers apply for NC Medicaid, while closely monitoring expansion implementation after the Friday, Dec. 1, 2023, press conference it co-hosted with NC Governor Roy Cooper and NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) Secretary Kody Kinsley. Medicaid expansion comes on the heels of post-pandemic Medicaid unwinding, which compromised beneficiaries’ right to timely, meaningful access to coverage. While 600,000 North Carolinians now have access to Medicaid, enrollment is only automatic for half of them; approximately 300,000 must understand their eligibility and then take the step to apply.
Health insurance navigators across the state, like those at the Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy, provide free help to consumers enrolling in Health Insurance Marketplace® coverage or applying for Medicaid. The Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy helped 54 applicants on Dec. 1, 2023, alone. More information is on the Advocacy Center’s website.
“At the Medicaid expansion kick off press conference, Secretary Kinsley said, ‘This is a marathon and not a sprint,’ and we couldn’t agree more,” said Toussaint Romain, CEO of the Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy. “We are thrilled that Medicaid expansion is here, but educating those who are now eligible and getting them to apply will require extensive outreach from NCDHHS, organizations like ours and the long list of partners we bring to the table.”
While Medicaid expansion will impact more than 600,000 North Carolinians ages 19 through 64 years with higher incomes, those income levels start with single adults who earn only $20,120, annually. Many of those impacted by Medicaid expansion are employed as childcare workers, custodians, restaurant workers, nursing assistants, etc. While they have previously made too much income to qualify for Medicaid, they are often still struggling financially.
“Signing up for Medicaid may sound simple but it’s complicated and time consuming, especially for people who are working two or three jobs to support their families,” said Natalie Marles, health insurance navigator project manager at the Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy. “Many of these folks have applied before and been turned down.”
The Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy’s Family Support & Health Care Program advocates are monitoring Medicaid expansion to ensure those that are newly eligible for Medicaid are able to apply for coverage and get timely access to care. This team, in partnership with the National Health Law Program, filed a lawsuit in 2022 on behalf of beneficiaries alleging that the NC Medicaid agency, along with county Departments of Social Services, were terminating and reducing Medicaid benefits without considering eligibility under all Medicaid categories. It was alleged that this was done without providing timely and adequate written notice, in violation of federal Medicaid statutes and the U.S. Constitution. Franklin v. Kinsley (formerly known as Hawkins v. Cohen) was settled and went into effect on March 14, 2023, resulting in extensive and very detailed changes to the procedures, forms and notices for redetermining Medicaid eligibility for the 2.8 million North Carolinians currently enrolled in Medicaid.
“At the end of the day, we all want Medicaid to be the best it can be for the North Carolinians who depend on it,” said Cassidy Estes-Rogers, senior attorney and program director for the Family Support & Health Care Program at Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy.
As a member of the NC Navigator Consortium, Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy navigators are available to provide free, unbiased advice to residents of Cabarrus, Mecklenburg and Union Counties. Navigators are federally certified and extensively trained in the insurance plan options offered by the Marketplace®, in addition to cost-sharing reductions and premium tax credits eligibility. Navigators also help with Medicaid. Additional assistance is provided to consumers who are disabled, do not speak English or are unfamiliar with health insurance.
Free appointments with a local navigator can be made using the statewide appointment hotline at 1-855-733-3711, locally at 980-256-3782 or online at charlottelegaladvocacy.org/getcovered.
About Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy
Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy provides those in need with information, advice and advocacy in consumer protection, home preservation, health care access and public benefits, immigration, tax assistance, and more. Our mission is to pursue justice for those in need. Our vision is to build a just community where all people are treated fairly and have access to legal representation to meet their basic human needs of safety, economic security and stability. Learn more: charlottelegaladvocacy.org.
The project described was supported by Funding Opportunity number NAVCA210405-03-00 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The contents provided are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of HHS or any of its agencies.
Mark the kick off of NC Medicaid Expansion with the newly eligible, Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy and special guests, including Governor Roy Cooper
November 29, 2023
What: Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy will hold a Dec. 1, 2023 event to kick off NC Medicaid expansion during which health insurance navigators will take walk-in appointments to help the newly eligible apply for Medicaid. There will be a 10:30 a.m. press conference with CEO Toussaint Romain and special guests:
- NC Gov. Roy Cooper
- NC DHHS Secretary Kody H. Kinsley
- Carolyn Allison, CEO, Charlotte Community Health Clinic
Who: Medicaid expansion will impact more than 600,000 North Carolinians ages 19 through 64 years with higher incomes on a sliding scale, starting with single adults who earn $20,120 annually. Health insurance navigators who help consumers with HealthCare.gov coverage can also help the newly eligible enroll in Medicaid in any language, either in person or by calling 980-256-3782.
When: Friday, Dec. 1, 2023, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Press conference to start at 10:30 a.m.
Where: Goodwill Opportunity Campus, in Bank of America Hall on the second floor
5301 Wilkinson Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28208
Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy can provide those in need with information, advice and advocacy in consumer protection, home preservation, health care access and public benefits, immigration, tax assistance and more. Our mission is to pursue justice for those in need. Our vision is to build a just community, where all people are treated fairly and have access to legal representation to meet their basic human needs of safety, economic security and stability.
Event partners include the Department of Social Services and Charlotte Community Health Clinic.
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