Nearly 13% of North Carolinians had no health-insurance coverage at the end of 2018, according to a national report released Tuesday by Kaiser Family Foundation.
The nonprofit group issued its “Election 2020: State Health Care Snapshots.”
In 2018, North Carolina had 1.08 million nonelderly people who were uninsured, according to the report; the state’s total population was 10.04 million at that time.
By comparison, the overall uninsured population for the U.S. was 10.4%, or 27.87 million.
Based on the Kaiser report, nearly 59% of North Carolina’s uninsured population, or 634,000, would gain health-care coverage over the next three years if the state were to expand access to Medicaid.
That’s according to a report released June 26, 2019, by the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust and the Cone Health Foundation and done by George Washington University researchers.
About 47% of North Carolinians have employee-sponsored health insurance, 14.8% have Medicare and 14.9% use Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
The average annual deductible for employee-sponsored insurance plans in the state was $3,752, while the average annual premium (employee and employer contributions combined) was $18,211.
Nearly 96% of private employers with at least 50 employees offered health insurance, compared with just 19.2% with fewer than 50 workers.
There were 447,680 North Carolinians with insurance through the federal marketplace. Of those participants, 94% received some form of federal tax credit.
The Kaiser report determined that 14.1% of North Carolinians live below the federal poverty line, while 19.4% live between 100% and 199% of the poverty line, and 31.1% between 200% and 399% of the poverty line.
The Kaiser report comes as Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and Republican legislative leaders are at loggerheads over the state budget, in large part because of Cooper’s requirement of a form of Medicaid expansion to get his approval of the 2019-20 budget.
Medicaid already serves 2.14 million North Carolinians, representing about 21% of the state population.
Of that population, about 1.6 million could be enrolled into a new managed-care program. Startup funding for that initiative has been held up by Cooper’s vetoes of the state budget and mini-budget legislation House Bill 555.
North Carolina is one of just 14 states, mostly Republican-led, that has not expanded Medicaid since the passage of the federal Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare.” Kansas has reached a compromise between its Democratic governor and GOP-controlled legislature.
The Kate B. Reynolds report determined that expanding Medicaid would create more than 37,000 jobs, including 20,600 in the health-care sector, by the end of 2022, as well as bring in an additional $11.7 billion in federal Medicaid funding from 2020 to 2022.
For Forsyth County, the 2019 report projects that 1,772 jobs would be created — the fifth most in the state — and the local economy would gain a $423.7 million benefit by 2022.
The Kaiser report covered several socioeconomic and health-care categories that the group cited as keys to the 2020 presidential, congressional and statewide elections.
“These state snapshots provide data on a range of topics to describe the health care and political landscape in which health policy debates in the election will unfold,” the group said.
The report also provides information about who controls each state’s governor’s office and legislature, the political mix of the congressional delegation, and which senators and governors are up for re-election in 2020.
N.C. Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, has claimed for years that the federal government may not be able to sustain its commitment of paying 90% of the additional Medicaid expansion administrative costs.
The other 10% would be covered by an assessment that hospitals, providers and health insurers have pledged to finance.
GOP legislative leaders, led by Berger, have chosen not to take up a Republican option introduced April 9 by state Rep. Donny Lambeth, R-Forsyth, that has bipartisan support. The bill has a work requirement; federal judge have blocked a similar requirement in other states.