Adults, by contrast, remain uninsured; Affordable Care Act could bring similar gains for adults, but NC needs to expand Medicaid
RALEIGH (Sep. 17, 2013) -- According to the new census report released today, the number of children without health coverage in North Carolina has fallen to 8.8 percent, a 4 percent drop since 2007. This gain is largely due to the success of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), launched in 1998, along with Medicaid, which combined to cover 1.5 millionchildren in the state.
The trend among children contrasts sharply with that of adults. According to the new report, 19.5 percent of adults under 65 remain uninsured. This is largely because private insurance coverage – in particular, job-based coverage – has declined during this period, and it is much more difficult for adults to qualify for public health insurance than it is for children.
“Fewer and fewer employers – especially smaller employers -- offer insurance. Right now, when hard-working North Carolinians lose their job-based coverage, most have nowhere else to turn,” said Adam Searing, Health Director at the North Carolina Justice Center. “Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, that will change dramatically for many workers starting in 2014.”
Starting on Oct. 1, North Carolinians who can’t get affordable health insurance through their jobs but earn too much to qualify for Medicaid can sign up for coverage for 2014 through the state’s new health insurance marketplace (Seewww.healthcare.gov for more information). Many people will be eligible for new federal subsidies to help them pay their premiums and reduce their out-of-pocket health costs. Over 1 million North Carolinians are eligible for subsidies in the new health marketplace.
However, Gov. Pat McCrory and the North Carolina General Assembly have refused to accept federal funds to expand Medicaid to cover an additional 500,000 working North Carolinians. Most of these North Carolinians — those with incomes too high for Medicaid today but too poor to qualify for Marketplace — won’t be able to afford insurance through the Marketplace and will be left out in the cold with no options.
“The decision by Governor McCrory and the NC General Assembly to reject federal funds to expand Medicaid not only leaves 500,000 North Carolinians out in the cold with no way to get health insurance,” said Searing, “but passes up the opportunity to strengthen our state economy and help keep our workers healthy and productive.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Adam Searing, 919.889.8738 (mobile); Jeff Shaw, Director of Communications, firstname.lastname@example.org, 503.551.3615 (mobile).