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State left with one insurer for Medicaid expansion

State left with one insurer for Medicaid expansion

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BISMARCK, N.D. _ One of two private insurers in North Dakota that submitted a proposal for involvement in state Medicaid expansion has now withdrawn.

The North Dakota Department of Human Services said Friday that Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota had notified the department of its withdrawal the previous day.

The department revealed the Blue Cross Blue Shield withdrawal in its overall update on Medicaid expansion.

It leaves the Sanford Health Plan as the only private insurer to submit a proposal.

“We will continue to move forward with implementation of the Medicaid expansion coverage with Sanford Health Plan,” Human Services Director Maggie Anderson said in a Friday statement.

Insurers submitting proposals had to assure the department that they would be able to meet the state’s requirements to for access to services statewide, she said.

A law passed earlier this year, required Medicaid expansion in North Dakota to be either through private insurance carriers or through the federal health care marketplace.

Anderson said work is ongoing to ensure people who enroll have coverage on Jan. 1. They may face problems due to delays in federal and state computer projects that determine eligibility and share information.

North Dakota and other states have had some access to the federal www.healthcare.gov website to determine eligibility. People who have applied for Medicaid and have been deemed eligible are being allowed to enroll for up to 90 days while more information is gathered to ensure they qualify.

The department also announced that as of this week, the state has received 1,093 incomplete applications for the coverage of 1,613 individuals. Human Services estimates that approximately 20,500 North Dakotans may qualify for Medicaid expansion.

Those who don’t qualify for Medicaid expansion but wish to enroll for private insurance through the federal marketplace have until Monday in order to be covered on Jan. 1.

Open enrollment on the federal marketplace runs through March 15, 2014.

There is no deadline for the state Medicaid enrollment. More information on Medicaid enrollment can be found at www.nd.gov/dhs/medicaidexpansion

Reach Nick Smith at 250-8255 or 223-8482 or at nick.smith@bismarcktribune.com.

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