Children’s Health Insurance Program increases access to benefits

BISMARCK — About 2,000 qualifying North Dakota children enrolled in the Children’s Health Insurance Program will transition to traditional Medicaid coverage and have access to more health and dental benefits beginning today. This change will happen automatically, and families can expect a seamless transition with no gaps in coverage, according to the North Dakota Department of Human Services.

During the 2019 legislative session, lawmakers authorized the human services department to simplify the delivery of services by transferring administration of CHIP from contracts with Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota and Delta Dental of Minnesota to traditional Medicaid coverage.

Qualifying children will now have access to a yearly screening and well-child checkup through North Dakota Medicaid’s Health Tracks program. This program helps prevent and identify health problems before they become too complex and costly to treat. Other benefit changes include the elimination of copayments on covered services, and the removal of service limits on physical therapy, speech therapy and occupational therapy. In addition, there will be no dollar limit for Medicaid-covered dental services.

Department officials estimate this Medicaid operational change will save taxpayers $6.1 million in the first 18 months of implementation.

“We understand that even though North Dakota reimburses Medicaid professional providers at or near Medicare rates, there might be some families who may need to find a new doctor or dentist because their current provider does not accept Medicaid. Even with the state’s rural nature, in a 2019 survey of North Dakota Medicaid beneficiaries, 80.3 percent reported usually or always having access to care from their provider when they needed care. In reality, the more robust Medicaid coverage for qualifying children is a win-win for them,” said Caprice Knapp, director of the department’s Medical Services Division.

New Medicaid identification cards were mailed in mid-December to qualifying children who will transition from CHIP to traditional Medicaid coverage.

The department has online resources available for families looking for providers enrolled in North Dakota Medicaid. A list of dental providers accepting North Dakota Medicaid is online at www.insurekidsnow.gov.

A list of primary care providers that accept North Dakota Medicaid is online at www.nd.gov/dhs/services/medicalserv/medicaid/cures-act.html.

Families with questions can call North Dakota Medicaid toll-free at 800-755-2604, 711 (TTY) between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.


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