Patient enrollment begins for NC Medicaid managed care shift

Published 7:48 am Tuesday, March 16, 2021

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North Carolina’s Medicaid recipients now can decide which health plan they’ll use for medical services when a system overhaul finally goes online July 1.

Open enrollment for NC Medicaid Managed Care began this week and ends May 14. About 1.8 million of the 2.5 million people covered through Medicaid or a related program should enroll and choose a plan. Four are available statewide, while a fifth is regional. There’s another option for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. People who don’t enroll will be placed in a plan automatically.

State leaders decided in 2015 to switch from a traditional fee-for-service program to one in which health plans receive fixed monthly payments for every patient seen and treated. Managed care supporters believe the shift will control state expenses and result in healthier patients.

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Managed care was supposed to begin by February 2020, but it got delayed due to the state budget stalemate that year.