Dear Health Center Advocates,
RIGHT NOW your voice can make a difference! You have one more day to submit comments to the federal government requesting that our state extends Medicaid coverage to the uninsured.
Did you know that in North Carolina, about 244,000 adults are stuck in the ‘coverage gap,’ with no good way to get health insurance?
Most of them are working in industries such as retail, construction, or food service, but their incomes are too high to qualify for Medicaid and too low to afford health insurance in the private marketplace.
For instance, a working adult without children who makes less than $11,880 a year can’t get low-cost health insurance or NC Medicaid.
The federal government is currently considering whether or not to approve changes to NC’s Medicaid program. Unfortunately, state officials haven’t proposed closing the coverage gap by extending Medicaid to low-income adults. Click here to tell national officials North Carolina cannot continue to leave these individuals out!
Use your voice NOW to write a comment to federal officials explaining why low-income, uninsured working adults in North Carolina need access to insurance coverage. The deadline for comments is tomorrow, July 20th! Click here to fill out the comment box. Continue reading below for suggested comments and more information.
Consider a Few of These Comment Ideas: (Note: All comments are public record so only share information you are comfortable with the public seeing.)
- Want a template you can copy and paste? Scroll down! We have one for you below.
- If you are uninsured: Provide examples of how not having health insurance makes it difficult to get needed health care services. (Reminder: All comments are public record so only share information you are comfortable with the public seeing.)
- If you work at a health center: Provide examples of uninsured patient experiences with not being able to access important health care services. How does that impact their health?
- If you support a health center: How would health center patients, the organization itself, or the broader community benefit from Medicaid expansion for low-income working adults?
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) recently submitted a Section 1115 Waiver application to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to seek federal approval to transition the Medicaid program from fee-for-service to managed care. As the application is currently written, the state does not plan to expand Medicaid as called for by the Affordable Care Act to low-income working adults. CMS will be accepting public comments through July 20th; it is crucial that CMS hears concerns from our health center advocates across North Carolina.
Why submit comments?
This is a key opportunity to influence North Carolina’s changes to the state Medicaid program. The more health center advocates submit public comments, the better understanding national leaders will have for why NC should not be allowed to continue leaving low-income working adults without access to health insurance coverage.
Reminders and Tips
- All comments are public record. Include only what you feel comfortable with all stakeholders reading, especially if you are including your name or any identifying information with your public comments.
- Consider including individual anecdotes, stories, and data as these can be very persuading to the CMS reviewers who will be reading all of the public comments submitted to CMS.
North Carolina’s Medicaid reform plan lacks the most important change needed to improve health care for North Carolinians and strengthen the provider community — Medicaid expansion! Medicaid coverage should be extended to all adults ages 18-64 with incomes at or below 138% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). In North Carolina, expanded Medicaid would cover more than 400,000 people; at least 244,000 of those in the Coverage Gap are uninsured as a result.
In 2014, 43% of all community health center patients in North Carolina were uninsured and more than 70% of patients lived at or below 100% FPL. Community health center staff see firsthand the significant health challenges and barriers to needed services that these uninsured and low-income patients face. In North Carolina, nearly 40,000 women are not receiving recommended preventive screenings, 27,044 diabetics cannot get much needed medications, and 45,500 individuals with depression are not getting the treatment they need. In fact, providers often have to modify treatment plans for uninsured patients because of their inability to afford a specialist visit or pay for needed medications.
With Medicaid expansion, community health centers in North Carolina could better coordinate the full spectrum of care their patients need. Medicaid expansion would also bring new income to the community health centers that would enable them to expand sites and services, hire new staff, and integrate and improve the care they provide.
Don’t let North Carolina’s Medicaid program leaving out the most important change for our state’s health. We need North Carolina to expand Medicaid!
How do I submit comments?
You can submit your comments online on the CMS website until Wednesday, June 20, 11:59 PM ET. You may either draft your comments in the text box on that page or you may upload a file/attachment that contains your comments. Please remember that these comments are public and will be viewable by others.