North Carolina is enrolling more uninsured people than any other state that refused to set up its own health care exchange under the Affordable Care Act.
Health care policy director Adam Searing of the NC Justice Center says the state-run Medicaid system, Community Care, has made a big difference.
The state has encouraged social and health services to cooperate to provide Medicaid patients solid care up front, and now friends and family members who don't qualify for Medicaid have affordable options and guidance for enrolling in private healthcare.
“There are these new options available,” Searing said. “But there was already a structure in place at the local level in North Carolina, unlike at many states, where a lot of these organizations – like community health centers, like health departments – were already working together.”
Nonprofits and church groups are also volunteering to help people enroll. By the end of last year, nearly 180,000 uninsured North Carolinians signed up for private health insurance plans.