North Carolina Health Choice

Program Purpose

North Carolina Health Choice (NCHC) is North Carolinas health insurance program for children under age 19 who have no health insurance and whose family's income prevents them from affording health care, but who are ineligible for Medicaid. NCHC is coverage through Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, but is administered through social services because it is a publicly funded program governed by federal and state laws. This program can end or be frozen when funds are depleted.

Eligibility Information

Eligible applicants must:

  • Be a citizen of the United States or an alien admitted to the United States under a specific immigration status.
  • Be ineligible for Medicaid, Medicare or other federally sponsored health insurance.
  • Be members of families at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Limits. The amount of money families can earn and still qualify depends upon the number of people in each family unit. (Current income limits can be found on the NCDMA website.)
  • Be a resident of North Carolina
  • Be under age 19
  • Be uninsured
  • Pay the enrollment fee if applicable. (Families whose income falls between 151% and 200% of the Federal Poverty Limits must pay an enrollment fee of $50 per child up to a maximum of $100 per family. The enrollment fee must be paid each year.)

This is just a guide. An eligibility worker at the Department of Social Services will assess your individual situation and inform you of your eligibility status.

Application Information

Applications are a two-page form and are available at the Orange County Department of Social Services. You may also request an application by mail. Completed application forms may be submitted to the Orange County Department of Social Services by mail or in person. Receipt of a completed application form initiates the application process. 

Each child is first evaluated for Medicaid (Health Check) before being evaluated for NC Health Choice. Approved NC Health Choice applicants receive a health insurance card from Blue Cross/Blue Shield for each child, a benefits booklet and instructions in the mail.

Applications can also be downloaded at the NCDHHS website.

Unlike Medicaid (Health Check), NC Health Choice is limited by the amount of funds that are available. Therefore, the program is open only to children on a first come, first serve basis. When funds are depleted, children will be placed on a waiting list.

Bringing the following items will aid in the process of applications:

  • Birth certificates or other legal proof of age for children under age 21
  • Copies of all medical or life insurance policies for all persons you are applying for
  • A copy of all pay stubs for the prior month
  • Current statements for any other source of income such as Social Security, retirement benefits, Veterans benefits or child support
  • A list of all cars, trucks, motorcycles or any other vehicles you are anyone in your household own
  • Most recent bank statements
  • Proof of alien status for applicants who are not U.S. citizens
  • Proof of pregnancy (a statement from your doctor or another health professional) if you are applying for pregnancy coverage.
  • Social security cards or numbers for all persons you are applying for