As a part of the Affordable Care Act, North Dakota’s Legislature approved an expansion of Medicaid to cover people who right now don’t have health insurance.
And the state Department of Human Services is preparing.
"We estimated the number of individuals qualifying for the Medicaid expansion to be 20,500," said Human Services Executive Director Maggie Anderson. "The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that number to 32,000."
Anderson says staffers have been working some long hours to prepare for the launch of the Act next week. She says a big piece of this will be what coverage will be available for those on expanded Medicaid.
"We have a request for proposal that's out for bid right now," said Anderson. "The proposals are due Oct. 8th, and we expect to award a contract by mid-October."
In the meantime, Anderson says county eligibility workers are training to deal with the implementation. She says so far, she isn’t planning on adding staff to handle the applications.
"But we are looking at contract or additional assistance in place," said Anderson. "That could be for phone volume or application volumes that could be bigger than what the Department is expecting."
Anderson says this fall, a Web site is being launched, so people will be able to apply on-line. She says although applications become available Oct. 1, the coverage doesn't kick in until Jan. 1, so there's no need to rush.