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Medicaid expansion is here; Pisgah Legal offers free advice on gaining access

Medicaid expansion is here; Pisgah Legal offers free advice on gaining access

More than 500,000 North Carolinians stand to gain free health coverage in the coming months. 

Medicaid expansion will make low-income adults ages 19-64 who have incomes up to 138% of the Federal Poverty Level eligible to enroll in Medicaid. This is roughly $20,000 for a single person or $41,000 for a family of four. Western North Carolinians may be able to get health care coverage through Medicaid even if they didn’t qualify before.

Medicaid is free to most consumers and provides comprehensive coverage, including dental care. Many people have $0 co-pays when they visit the doctor.

“This is a historical moment,” says Pisgah Legal Services' Chief Operations Officer Jaclyn Kiger. “We have been advocating for Medicaid expansion for more than 10 years, and to see it become a reality is exciting. This will be life-changing and lifesaving for folks in our mountain region.”

Although Medicaid expansion will have a resounding impact across the state, it is expected to have the highest impact in North Carolina’s rural counties. Data from the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families indicates that more than 20 percent of non-elderly workers are uninsured in eight of WNC’s 18 counties.

“We expect to see a large uptick in the number of people who qualify for Medicaid in this region,” says Kiger. “Pisgah Legal is prepared to help people apply for Medicaid. We know people with health insurance are more likely to get the care they need, and to be protected from crippling medical bills. We are eager to help as many people get covered as possible.”

Medicaid provides comprehensive coverage to all beneficiaries. This includes services such as primary care visits, dental care, vision, hearing, hospital stays and maternity care.

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

Pisgah Legal can help with Medicaid applications. Pisgah Legal’s certified Navigators help local people find quality, affordable health insurance plans. They offer free, unbiased help so folks can make the best decisions for themselves and their families. Medicaid applications are open year-round.

To make an appointment for free help enrolling in Medicaid or exploring options, visit or call 828.210.3404.

Pisgah Legal also helps people who have had their Medicaid terminated during the unwinding period that began in April 2023. If you or someone you know has lost coverage, Pisgah Legal can help determine eligibility for a plan on the Marketplace.

Pisgah Legal’s NC Medicaid Ombudsman Program can help current Medicaid beneficiaries who are experiencing problems with their plans.

Medicaid beneficiaries in all 18 WNC counties may also be eligible for the Healthy Opportunities Pilot (HOP). HOP connects Medicaid recipients to non-medical resources related to food, housing, transportation and interpersonal safety. This can include: transportation to the grocery store or work, help finding stable, long-term housing, meal delivery and more.

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