Medicaid is changing: Here's who should go to Friday's event at the Armory in Elizabethtown

·2 min read

Feb. 21—ELIZABETHTOWN — Bladen County's Medicaid recipients and beneficiaries can get more information about the coming changes to the program on Friday in a special event.

The floating offering is for three hours, starting at 11 a.m., in the Bladen County National Guard Armory, 1001 W. Swanzy St., in Elizabethtown.

WellCare, United Healthcare Community Plan, AmeriHealth Caritas North Carolina, NC Healthy Blue, and Carolina Complete Health will be there to provide information. They hope to reach an audience of Medicaid recipients and beneficiaries that have questions about what is being billed as "Medicaid Transformation."

"North Carolina Medicaid is moving to Managed Care," said Vickie Smith, director of Bladen County's Department of Social Services. "This means that Medicaid recipients and beneficiaries will have to choose one of the companies to provide their Medicaid coverage."

Those that don't choose, Smith said, will be auto-enrolled to a provider.

The move is a result of a 2015 Session Law by the General Assembly that directed the state Department of Health and Human Resources to transition Medicaid and NC Health Choice from fee-for-service to managed care.

The difference is under fee-for-service, DHHS reimbursed physicians and health-care providers based on services or procedures. It's a model that going forward will be known as NC Medicaid Direct, and only a small number of people will stay in it.

The state in Managed Care will contract with insurance companies. These will be called Prepaid Health Plans, or PHPs for short. About 1.6 million of the 2.1 million Medicaid beneficiaries in North Carolina will go into Medicaid Managed Care.

Enrollment begins March 15 and all health plans "go live" on July 1.

Current beneficiaries should expect to receive mail starting March 1, advising who in the household must enroll or may choose to enroll, available plans, and how to enroll. The enrollment period will last until May 14.

The automatic enrollment commences May 15.

For questions:

—about eligibility, contact Bladen County DSS. The phone number is 910-862-6800.

—about choosing or enrolling, go to, or call toll free 833-870-5500.

The process was a talking point during this month's planning retreat of the county commissioners. Speaking for the Health Department, director Dr. Terri Duncan said she anticipated the first six to 12 months to be financially difficult. Contracts are being renegotiated. The Health Department will be receiving money from prepaid health providers rather than the state.

Duncan told commissioners her department expects to be impacted in the areas of child health, family planning, immunizations and pre- and post-partum maternity clinic.

Alan Wooten can be reached at 910-247-9132 or Twitter: @alanwooten19.

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