Q&A about North Carolina and the Obama health plan

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 28, 2013 at 3:21 pm •  Published: January 28, 2013
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Q: How many people are currently served by Medicaid and how many more will be served if North Carolina chooses to expand coverage through the program?

A: More than 1.5 million people in North Carolina currently receive health care paid by Medicaid. About 648,000 more state residents with low incomes who currently lack insurance would be eligible for Medicaid coverage if North Carolina chooses to expand the program. About 525,000 of those people would enroll in Medicaid or North Carolina's child health insurance program in 2014, according to the state Division of Medical Assistance.

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Q: How many small businesses are likely to take advantage of the health insurance offered on a North Carolina exchange?

A: Of the estimated 715,000 North Carolinians expected to buy health insurance coverage through a state exchange beginning in 2014, about 51,000 people are expected to be covered by small businesses purchasing insurance for employees and their dependents, according to the Milliman study.

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Q: How much money has North Carolina received so far from the federal government to do the initial work in setting up an exchange?

A: North Carolina this month was awarded $74 million by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to keep working on the state's exchange, in addition to $13.4 million previously awarded to pay for planning, salaries and information systems.

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Q: How many people will North Carolina's exchange employ and how much will it cost?

A: Reports from two consulting companies estimated that running North Carolina's exchange would cost about $25 million a year. One of the consultants reported in 2011, before the experience of early-adopter states and subsequent regulations, that about 110 workers would be needed to fulfill the exchange's functions if it were a stand-alone agency but fewer if it were made part of an existing state government department.