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Archive for the ‘Affordable Care Act (ACA)’ Category

Last Chance to Apply for January 1st Effective Date!

Monday, December 14th, 2015

Clock With Red Seconds Hand Area Deadline 3DIf you are still uninsured and trying to secure health coverage for 2016, your application must be submitted by midnight December 15th in order to qualify for a January 1st effective date (some exceptions apply).  Although Open Enrollment will not officially end until January 31st, 2016, you do not want to miss this important deadline!  In fact, if you fail to submit your application by December 15, 2015, in most cases you will not be eligible for health coverage to begin until February 1st and you will remain without health coverage throughout the month of January. (more…)

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Blue Cross Adjusts to ACA Market

Friday, November 27th, 2015

Questions and Answers signpost

Open Enrollment for 2016 is now in full swing and customers are asking a lot of hard questions, fair questions, questions that demand an answer.  Most of the questions and frustrations center around one thing:  rate increases.  On a near daily basis, insurance companies, agents and brokers are having to try to explain why the cost of insurance is soaring and how families and individuals are supposed to step up and meet the rising costs.  Prior to Open Enrollment, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina made a strenuous effort to try and answer some of these questions in advance, stating that the “goal, as always, is to offer health coverage that our customers can depend on at rates as affordable and sustainable as possible.”  Blue Cross went on to explain why a rate increase was imperative in order to maintain viability.  In fact, the company provided claims data for 2014 and the first half of 2015, reporting a $132 million dollar loss on ACA business alone.  At that time, BCBSNC explained two important trends:  First, there was no slowdown in any residual demand for medical services from new customers entering the health insurance marketplace after the induction of the ACA and second, there was a prevalence of more chronic health conditions needing medical treatment among ACA customers.

In more recent news, United Health Care has announced it may completely pull out of ACA Exchanges in 2017, citing significant losses on ACA business as the reason for this consideration.  The New York Times reported that United Health Group told investors “it was significantly lowering its profit estimates and blamed an expected loss of hundreds of millions of dollars selling individual policies under federal health care law” (11/20, B1, Abelson, Subscription Publication).   The article further stated “the company said it was estimating losses of more than $600 million from its exchange business, before taxes, in 2015 and 2016.”  With this announcement, customers are once again faced with hard questions about what is happening in the health insurance industry. (more…)

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Reduce BCBSNC Monthly Premium – Apply for a Federal Subsidy

Thursday, November 19th, 2015

Rate Hike words in green letters on a calculator display to illuWith the cost of health insurance on the rise, you may find yourself looking for ways to help cut the cost.  One of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act is that the federal government now offers federal tax credits, or subsidies, to low-to middle-income individuals and families in order to help reduce the cost of health insurance. Your federal subsidy is an advance premium tax credit and is applied directly to your monthly insurance premium. Government subsidies can substantially reduce the amount you pay for your Blue Cross Blue Shield NC health plan. (more…)

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BCBSNC and the North Carolina ACA Market

Monday, November 16th, 2015

Aca

Blue Cross Blue Shield NC recently released an article explaining a little of the data that has been collected regarding what North Carolina’s ACA market looks like and how that is affecting health insurance premiums all over the state.  Because BCBSNC is the only company offering health plans on the Marketplace in all 100 counties of North Carolina, they have the largest share of ACA business in the state and perhaps the clearest picture of how the Affordable Care Act has affected the cost of health insurance across the board.

According to BCBSNC, new ACA customers in the state continue to use their health care benefits more than originally expected and for highly expensive medical services.  In fact, according to claims data for 2014 and the first half of 2015, BCBSNC explained two important trends:  First, there was no slowdown in any residual demand for medical services from new customers entering the health insurance marketplace after the induction of the ACA and second, there was a prevalence of more chronic health conditions needing medical treatment. (more…)

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Cost of Prescription Drugs Affecting BCBSNC Premium Rates

Thursday, November 5th, 2015

bigstockphoto_medication_and_prescriptions_311655Under the Affordable Care Act, health care costs have risen across the board for both consumers and insurance companies, as well as health care providers.  Increased visits to the Emergency Room and an increasing number of ACA members with chronic health issues have put a strain on the health and health insurance industry alike.  A recent review of Blue Cross Blue Shield NC claims data showed that of the many higher health care costs among ACA business, prescription drug costs rose more than any other category of medical care in the first half of 2015.  In fact, prescription drug costs rose 33% in just one year, with a prescription claims average of $96.70 per month for each ACA customer January – June of 2015.  Although pharmaceutical companies are currently being reviewed for how they price new prescription drugs, that 33% increase has still greatly affected the cost of health insurance.

There are viable reasons the cost of prescription drugs are on the rise.  There are many new and improved medications as well as specialty drugs that can be very expensive to develop and administer.  Maintenance drugs for chronic conditions are also pricey and being used more than ever.  For example, the Mayo Clinic cited that cancer drugs have risen from an average price of about $10K a year in 2000 to more than $100K in 2012!  Although those drugs may be more effective and have less side effects, they are also more expensive.  New diabetes drugs as well are retailing at about $400 a month, whereas the older class of diabetes drugs were as little as $4 a month for the generic brand.  Again, with every advantage in new prescription coverage comes an increased cost to the consumer and the insurance company.

On a national level, the realities of the Affordable Care Act and its impact on the health insurance market are being fully realized as ACA customers experience more chronic conditions and continue to use their health benefits more often and at a higher rate than could have been accurately predicted.  This has affected the cost of health insurance, as insurance companies all over the nation fight to stay solvent.  In fact, Tennessee’s two largest health plans available on the ACA exchange requested a 2016 rate increase of 36-44% based on 2015 claims data and the Oregan insurance commissioner actually ordered several companies’ rates to be higher than requested because of concerns that the companies would simply fold otherwise.

As Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina prepares for 2016, consumers will likely see a rate increase in their monthly premiums and may be asking why.  The answer is simple.  The price of health care and prescription drugs is on the rise and new ACA consumers are using their benefits at a higher rate for more expensive services.  As always, BCBSNC is committed to offering members the very best coverage available at a price that is competitive in this new market and will continue to provide the residents of North Carolina health coverage they can depend on.

For more information on Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina insurance coverage, the Marketplace and healthcare gov to apply for your subsidy, please visit our website at www.nchealthplans.com or call our toll free number 888*765-5400 and speak with one of our experienced and professional agents.  Let us help you navigate through the Health Care Reform changes in accordance with the new regulations of The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obama care.

 

 

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BCBSNC Rate Increase for 2016 – Call Us 888-765-5400

Monday, November 2nd, 2015

Stethoscope Heart With Us Flag And ChartA few weeks ago, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina announced a requested rate increase for all 2016 BCBSNC health policies.  Since that time, NC health plans has received numerous calls from concerned customers regarding the proposed rate increase, with the number one question being why?  Here’s the answer. (more…)

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Tax Penalties Will Increase for 2016 – Get Covered with BCBSNC

Sunday, October 25th, 2015

Lady using calculator, stressed

The Affordable Care Act mandated that all United States taxpayers purchase ACA approved, qualified health plans or pay a tax penalty when reconciling taxes.  This is often referred to as the individual mandate.  The individual mandate went into effect at the beginning of January 2014 and continues each year. The penalty for not having coverage is paid on your Federal Income Tax Returns for each full month you or a family member does not have health insurance (unless you have an exemption) and is based on your Modified Adjusted Gross Income.  In addition, the penalty increased in 2015 and is increasing again in 2016.  (more…)

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Blue Cross Blue Shield NC – The Future of Health Insurance

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015

Step Into The Future.

If you are part of the generation that remembers the movie Back to the Future II, you may recall that today, October 21, 2015, marks the day that Marty McFly and Doc Brown went from 1985 into the future in a rigged out DeLorean.  That was 30 years ago and although the movie may have gotten us thinking about what the future might look like, most of us never could have imagined some of the changes that have taken place not only in technology, but also in industry.  In fact, the last few years have marked the single biggest change in the health insurance industry the United States has ever seen.  With the induction of the Affordable Care Act, both insurance companies and insurance consumers have had to rethink health coverage and how it can be purchased and provided.

Despite the changes, however, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina has continued to provide quality health insurance for the residents of North Carolina and is working hard to offer ACA-compliant, qualified health plans both on and off the federal Marketplace.  If you and your family are still uninsured, Open Enrollment is just around the corner, beginning November 1st, 2015 and running through January 31st, 2016.  During that time, anyone can apply for health coverage for any reason and you cannot be denied coverage based on preexisting conditions.

For assistance with an application for Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC health coverage or for help in claiming your federal tax credit, visit us at NCHealthPlans.com or call us toll free at 888-765-5400!  The future has arrived and no American need remain uninsured!

For more information on Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina insurance coverage, the Marketplace and healthcare gov to apply for your subsidy, please visit our website at www.nchealthplans.com or call our toll free number 888*765-5400 and speak with one of our experienced and professional agents.  Let us help you navigate through the Health Care Reform changes in accordance with the new regulations of The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obama care.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Cost of Insurance – How ER Visits Affect Your Premium

Tuesday, October 20th, 2015

emergency roomBlue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina has been providing quality, affordable health insurance to the residents of NC since 1933, but many members are concerned about recent or future rate increases.  In fact, it’s all over national news – the cost of health insurance is on the rise.  But do you know why?  Truthfully, it’s a complicated answer.  One of the reasons insurance premiums are going up, however, is because of the growing number of Emergency Room visits occurring on a regular basis.  Despite the fact that most people know the ER is rarely the most efficient place to get health care, many Americans still utilize the ER in non-emergency situations.  And the Emergency Room is expensive! (more…)

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Why is My Health Insurance So Expensive?

Friday, August 14th, 2015

Young woman getting stressed over finances in kitchen

The federal government recently reported that significant payments were made to health insurance companies as a result of the Affordable Care Act, which may lead consumers to believe that insurers are making more money than ever… and at your expense.  With the rise in insurance premiums in 2015 and the expected rise in premiums again in 2016, it’s a reasonable assumption.  For Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, however, the opposite is true.  (more…)

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Stressed Out About Health Insurance? – We Can Help!

Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

Attachment-1If you are currently in the market for health insurance, you know all too well how stressful it can be.  Whether you lost coverage unexpectedly or are losing coverage in the near future, it can be overwhelming to consider how you will keep your family covered.  (more…)

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Blue Cross Blue Shield NC New Effective Date Guidelines

Monday, July 13th, 2015

Deadline Concept Clock“When will my coverage begin?” is one of the questions we are most frequently asked here at Jerry Ballard and Associates.  And it’s a good one.  In fact, it’s one of the most important questions you can ask regarding your health insurance plan(more…)

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