Special to Iredell Free News

North Carolina Medicaid now covers people ages 19 through 64 years with higher incomes than previously included in Medicaid. You may be able to get health coverage through Medicaid even if you did not qualify before.

Medicaid pays for doctor visits, yearly check-ups, emergency care, mental health services, and more – at little or no cost.

“Enrolling in Medicaid, for those who are eligible, is critical to having very low or no cost healthcare to cover not only emergencies such as hospitalizations or surgeries but routine preventive and chronic care. There is no reason not to take advantage of this comprehensive health coverage if you qualify,” said Rachel B. DiSanto, a physician at Statesville Family Practice.

Most people can get healthcare coverage through Medicaid if they meet the following criteria:
• Live in North Carolina;
• Age 19 through 64;
• Are a citizen. Some non-U.S. citizens can get healthcare coverage through Medicaid. To learn more, go to Medicaid.nc.gov;
• Have a household income that is below 138% of the federal poverty level. That’s about $20,000 for a single adult or about $34,000 for a family of three.

If you were eligible for Medicaid prior to December 1, 2023, you still are.

Enrolling in Medicaid is a crucial step for accessing healthcare coverage. However, to be proactive in your overall wellbeing, Iredell Health System recommends going beyond enrollment and actively seeking a primary care provider.

A primary care provider will serve as your main point of contact for all your medical needs, offering personalized care, preventive services, and coordination of specialized care, if needed. If you qualify for Medicaid, primary care visits are at little to no cost.

“Your primary care provider is your gateway to managing your healthcare. They can treat you when you are acutely ill, help manage any chronic medical problems, and help you navigate the healthcare system in general. So, whether you access care regularly or only very rarely, your primary care provider is the best person to help coordinate that care to keep you as healthy as possible and to keep your healthcare costs down, as accessing primary care is always cheaper than urgent care or the emergency room,” said DiSanto.

Apply for Medicaid online at epass.nc.gov. You can also submit a paper application or apply in person at the Iredell County Department of Social Services. Applications may take up to 45 days to process. Incomplete applications may take longer.

To help the process go faster, you can:
• Apply online at ePASS and provide all the information requested. If the application is incomplete, it may take longer to process. DSS will need to follow up with the applicant.
• Keep contact information up-to-date in ePASS, to receive all important information about Medicaid benefits.
• Sign up for an enhanced ePASS account to keep your information updated without having to contact the local DSS office.

“This expansion will help more people in our communities stay healthy, which in turn improves the health of our communities at large, reduce lost work and school time due to illness, and access important mental healthcare such as addiction treatment and behavioral health services,” said DiSanto.


♦ To learn more, visit Medicaid.nc.gov
♦ Find a primary care provider at www.IredellPhysicianNetwork.com