GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — In one month, Medicaid coverage will expand to tens of thousands of people in North Carolina.

The income requirements for people to get health coverage on Medicaid have gone up, meaning people who made too much before, might qualify now.

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The message from the county Medicaid teams is to apply today. You do not have to wait until Dec. 1, that is the date your benefits will kick in.

However, Medicaid directors in the Triad are asking you to apply soon because there will be a big increase in applications next month and it could take longer to get approved.

“I am going to ask that everyone just be patient with us as we work through this process and transition,” said Erica Reeves, the Guilford County Medicaid Division Director.

To help with the workload, Guilford County added 25 new staff members with more on the way. Forsyth County added 11 new staff members with plans to add on even more.

“We are prepared as best as we can be, it is a lot of uncertainty because the estimates are just based on what they believe are eligible,” said Marissa Adams, the Forsyth County Medicaid Division Director.

In Forsyth County, there are about 112,000 people on Medicaid, under the expansion that number could go up to 155,000. In Guilford County, there are about 160,000 people on Medicaid but it could be closer to 200,000 with the expansion. “We ask that you give us grace, we are fully committed to processing those applications within the 45-day time frame,” Adams said.

You can apply in person at the county offices, by phone, by mail or online. There are no required documents you need upfront but the more you prepare…the easier the process.

“If they have their proof of residency that would be great, verification of citizenship and proof of income if they have it,” Reeves said.

The new income guidelines require one person between the ages of 19 and 64 to make less than $20,120 a year, a family of two to make less than $27,214 a family of three to make less than $34,307 and a family of four to make less than $41,400 a year for Medicaid.

Benefits include doctor visits, dental, vision and mental health coverage.

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“Many times in the past we had working parents that opted to have their children covered by Medicaid but because they were just over the income limit didn’t qualify themselves and opted to just go without healthcare, now is the opportunity for those parents to take care of themselves,” Adams added.

If you currently are on Medicaid, nothing changes for you and there is nothing you need to do. If you think you qualify, you can apply here.

If you want to get some more information, Forsyth County is hosting a town hall session. They are open to the public and no registration is required:

  • Nov. 4, 1–2 p.m. at Lewisville Library, 6490 Shallowford Road 
  • Nov. 8, 6:30-7:30 p.m. at Reynolda Manor, 2839 Fairlawn Drive  
  • Nov. 9, 6:30- 7:30 p.m. at Southside Library, 3185 Buchanan St. 
  • Nov. 29, 6:30-7:30 p.m. at Central Library, 660 W 5th St.