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ICYMI: NC Health News: “A 300% Jump in Calls” for ACA Navigators as Unemployed Seek Coverage

Updated: May 22, 2020

ICYMI: NC Health News: “A 300% Jump in Calls” for ACA Navigators as Unemployed North Carolinians Seek Insurance Coverage and Tillis Remains Silent on ACA Lawsuit

COVID-19 boosts ACA demand, pressure on state Medicaid expansion amid job losses

Navigators unable to help some North Carolinians “because the federal government decided against reopening the insurance marketplace when the crisis hit”

Raleigh, N.C. – As North Carolina stares down a massive surge in joblessness due to the coronavirus pandemic, there has never been a more critical time to highlight the overwhelming importance of access to affordable health care. However, Sen. Tillis’ opposition to Medicaid expansion and repeated attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act have left hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians scrambling to access the care they need. Tillis has also refused to call for an open enrollment period that would help his constituents get access to care in the middle of this crisis.

North Carolina Health News broke down the increased demand for access to affordable health insurance options and Medicaid expansion among North Carolina’s newly unemployed.

Read the full story HERE with highlights below.

For workers who’ve lost jobs, what are the options for health insurance?

Rose Hoban, North Carolina Health News | May 12, 2020


“In a crisis like this, not having insurance is a serious problem for people. So it should, in my mind, raise the conversation to a level where people are much more willing to do that,” said Dave Richard, the state’s Medicaid head. “Having an insurance product that covers that many more folks in North Carolina would obviously help that.

“Frankly, this is not going to be something that the impact is, you know, miraculously ended.”


The article shares Ian Phillips’ experience securing access to health care with the Navigator Network after losing his job after the restaurant chain he had worked in for 21 years closed their Wilmington branch:

“An hour and a half later I was signed up good to go, we qualified for some credit, so the insurance was extremely affordable to the point where even being on unemployment I’m not really paying out of pocket,” Phillips said. “That was a blessing in disguise.”  


According to Mark Van Arnam, who runs the North Carolina Navigator Network, the navigator network has had a 300 percent jump in calls in March and April.

They also got a lot of calls from people who missed the open enrollment in the fall, who wanted to get onto insurance now. But he said they couldn’t help them because the federal government decided against reopening the insurance marketplace when the crisis hit.

Media Contact:

Jessica Coscia


About Piedmont Rising

Piedmont Rising is a 501 (c)4 issue advocacy organization built by and for North Carolinians to advocate for lower insurance premiums and prescription drug costs and to ensure that more people have access to safe and affordable health care. Through grassroots organizing, education, and engagement, we are amplifying our health care stories and holding our elected officials accountable to the people, and issues they were elected to represent.

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