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480,000 People In NC Have Gotten Health Plan Through National Marketplace

Illustration: Cadeceus
Flickr user takomabibelot
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Roughly 480,000 people in North Carolina have signed up or been automatically re-enrolled for Obamacare plans by the end of January using the healthcare.gov system, according to government data released Friday. Almost 7.5 million in total have signed up across the country.

In the Triangle, about 60,000 and in the Triad about 39,000 have signed up. Community groups such as churches and free health clinics have helped people sign up, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell said at an event in Raleigh on Friday.

"I think the success that we have seen in terms of the numbers in North Carolina is attributable to the great work that's happening on the ground," Burwell said.

Burwell spoke at Alliance Medical Ministry, a clinic in Raleigh that serves about 5,000 uninsured adults per year, to drum up support for healthcare.gov in advance of the Feb. 15 enrollment deadline, but in an interview with reporters, she said she would like to work with Gov. Pat McCrory on the possible expansion of Medicaid in North Carolina.

In his State of the State speech this week, McCrory hinted that he will propose an expansion plan, saying he’s working on “a North Carolina plan, not a Washington plan.”

McCrory has previously said he would want new Medicaid recipients to be required to look for work. Federal health officials have rejected imposing work requirements.

"I want to hear what [other] governors are saying and talk to them about what the particular needs are," Burwell said on Friday. "That's what we're going to continue to do, and we welcome that opportunity here in North Carolina."

>> Look at the new online tool that can help North Carolinians save money in medical costs.

Jorge Valencia has been with North Carolina Public Radio since 2012. A native of Bogotá, Colombia, Jorge studied journalism at the University of Maryland and reported for four years for the Roanoke Times in Virginia before joining the station. His reporting has also been published in the Wall Street Journal, the Miami Herald, and the Baltimore Sun.
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