The state is looking for more ideas from the public as it prepares to have private companies manage the government health insurance program for poor and disabled people.

The public input will supplement comments the state Department of Health and Human Services gathered last year when it asked the federal government for permission to move the Medicaid program to private managed care and change the way it pays medical bills. The 30-day public input period started Tuesday.

Medicaid and NC Health Choice, a smaller, government-subsidized insurance program for children, cover more than 2 million North Carolinians. The state and federal government pay for Medicaid, which covers poor children, some of their parents, the elderly, and disabled. The state is still in the early stages of making the major Medicaid changes, which will require permission from the federal government.

“We are looking across the board at how we can build a healthier state,” said DHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen. “One of biggest levers is through the Medicaid program.”

Though people can say what they like, the department wants ideas on specific topics:

▪ Caring for the whole person to improve physical and mental health

▪ Helping doctors and other health care providers transition to managed care

▪ Managing care to improve overall health, not just ot treat injury or illness

▪ Considering the impacts of income, housing, lifestyle and other social circumstances on health and health care services

▪ Improving quality of care

▪ Paying for value

▪ Increasing access to care and treating substance-use disorder

Written comments can be sent by email to; by mail to the Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Health Benefits, 1950 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, N.C., 27699-1950; or delivered in person at the Department of Health and Human Services, Dorothea Dix Campus, Adams Building, 101 Blair Drive, Raleigh.

Four public forums are planned around the state.

The final session is May 16, 6 p.m.-8 p.m., at the McKimmon Conference & Training Center, 1101 Gorman St., Raleigh.

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NC wants more ideas on the move to managed care for Medicaid