So far, just under 4000 North Dakotans have signed up for health care coverage under the expanded Medicaid program.
It’s part of the federal affordable care act. The Legislature approved Governor Dalrymple’s recommendation that Medicaid be expanded for low income people who can’t afford health insurance on their own.
State human services director Maggie Anderson told the Legislature’s interim Government Finance Committee – the department had estimated up to 20,500 North Dakotans could enroll through expanded Medicaid.
"We didn't think we'd have 20,500 on day one," Anderson told the committee. "We thought it would grow."
Anderson says she's interested to see how the application trend changes, because the ability for people to purchase private insurance in an open enrollment period ends in March.
"Some of those people going to healthcare.gov, looking for the option of private insurance -- we think that traffic may taper off," said Anderson. "We are very curious as to what will happen into April and May."
Anderson says Medicaid expansion is fully federally funded -- and that will scale back to 90 percent federally funded in a few years.