RALEIGH: Despite a shorter signup period, 523,989 people in North Carolina signed up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act. Governor Roy Cooper and DHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen, M.D., thanked more than a dozen organizations that helped with enrollments before the Dec. 15 deadline.
North Carolina’s enrollments are the nation’s third highest behind Florida and Texas. Enrollments in North Carolina topped 549,000 in 2017 and 513,000 in 2016.
“North Carolina’s strong signup numbers – despite a drastically shorter enrollment period – show that our families want and need quality health coverage,” said Governor Cooper. “I am certain that we could have served even more families had the deadline been extended, as I requested. People with access to health insurance are able to stay healthier and seek and maintain employment, which is good for our state’s economy.”
Governor Cooper joined Secretary Cohen in thanking the NC Navigator Consortium and others for assistance to individuals and families during the signup period.
“The consortium’s 12 health care, social service and legal aid organizations were a tremendous help sharing information about Open Enrollment and navigating people through the sign-up process,” Secretary Cohen said. “Their efforts directly contribute toward a healthier North Carolina.”
The consortium is led by Legal Aid of North Carolina and includes Access East, Capital Care Collaborative, Care Ring, Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy, Council on Aging of Buncombe County, Cumberland HealthNet, HealthCare Access, HealthNet Gaston, MDC, Partnership for Community Care, and Pisgah Legal Services. Learn more at www.NCNavigator.net. Assistance also was provided through local social services offices, universities, libraries, congregations and other non-profit and private organizations.
Governor Cooper requested an extension of the ACA signup deadline to December 22, but U.S. Health and Human Services Acting Secretary Eric D. Hargan did not grant the extension. Open enrollment has been extended twice in past years to give families more time to enroll in coverage. This year’s open enrollment period was six weeks shorter than in previous years.
North Carolina uses the federally-run exchange and has neither expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act nor chosen to operate a state-run exchange.