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

Will Presidential Election Results Affect Obamacare?

Thursday, November 10th, 2016

Election Results 2016 ConceptThe Presidential election is officially over and Donald Trump has won, which may leave many Americans wondering what, if anything, will happen to the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare.  Although Mr. Trump suggested during his presidential campaign that he would push for changes in the ACA, those changes will likely not be immediate and will certainly take time to implement.

Open Enrollment 2017 is now in full swing and it’s important to remember that as of today, nothing has changed in regards to health insurance.  ACA/Obamacare plans are still available through BCBSNC in all 100 counties in North Carolina and now is the time to enroll!

For now and in the near future, the Affordable Care Act is the law of the land and Americans are still required to maintain health coverage or face a federal tax penalty.  Keep in mind that the tax penalty for 2017 is $695 per person or 2.5% of your income, whichever is higher, so there is a high cost to being uninsured.  Despite substantial losses, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina has chosen this year to continue participation in the ACA within North Carolina and is working diligently to provide ACA-compliant, quality health plans to the residents of NC.

Whether you need to make a change to your existing coverage or enroll in a health plan for the first time, at NC Health Plans we are here to help.  We can assist you in estimating subsidy eligibility and offer an online or over-the-phone application process for individuals enrolling through the health insurance Marketplace.  Don’t let another year pass without enrolling the health coverage you need for you and your family.

At NC Health Plans, we understand that your time is as valuable as your health and we work hard to help our customers enjoy the best possible enrollment experience.  For your free rate quote visit www.nchealthplans.com, call 888-765-5400, or click the button below.

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How will the Presidential Election Affect NC Health Insurance?

Monday, November 7th, 2016

Election In United States Of America. Voter Holds Envelope In HaThe current presidential campaign is big news, but how might the upcoming election affect the NC health insurance market?  As might be expected, the two presidential candidates, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, have very different ideas when it comes to healthcare policies, leaving many North Carolinians as well as other Americans wondering what might happen to their health insurance in the months to come.

Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton has promised that should she win, she will work to improve the ACA markets by offering additional subsidies to offset the cost of health insurance as well as increase enrollment through aggressive marketing.  She has also suggested that she intends to pursue a public option on the federal Exchange, but many argue this would be a tough sell to Congress, even if the Democratic party takes control.

Donald Trump, on the other hand, has made it clear that he intends to shrink, though likely not completely abolish, the Affordable Care Act considerably.  Ending the individual mandate, eliminating ACA reforms such as minimal essential benefits and restructuring federal subsidies are a few of the ways he would likely begin.  Most experts agree that abolishing the Affordable Care Act would be a near impossibility now that millions of Americans are insured under ACA plans; however, under a Trump administration Americans would probably see a substantial overhaul of the current law.

With the presidential campaign in full-swing, one thing is for certain.  The Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare,” is a hot topic and one that many Americans say is at the top of their list in terms of policy concerns for 2017.  At NC Health Plans, our goal is to help the residents of North Carolina navigate the ever-changing health insurance market and we will continue to do so whatever changes may come in 2017.  We make it our business to stay up-to-date on market changes as well as federal laws affecting health insurance, and strive to give our customers the information and tools needed to choose and enroll a health insurance plan with confidence and ease.

For more information on North Carolina insurance coverage, 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.

 

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Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC Announces Participation in ACA for 2017!

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

bigstock-141086612Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina announced today that they will be offering individual health insurance plans on the federal Marketplace for 2017!  This is good news for North Carolina residents and comes as a sigh of relief for consumers in the wake of Aetna’s announcement earlier this summer that they would no longer be participating in the ACA in NC.  Aetna was the second major health insurance company to pull out of the Market, following United Healthcare’s similar announcement in April.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC’s decision to participate in the Marketplace reaffirms the North Carolina-based company’s commitment to providing quality, sustainable health insurance to the residents of North Carolina.

For 2017, BCBSNC will be the only health insurance company offering Affordable Care Act (ACA) plans in all 100 counties of North Carolina, meaning the company will absorb over 250,000 more customers than originally anticipated.  In light of this news, Blue Cross Blue Shield NC announced they will be revising their initial rate filings, with new rates being public sometime in October.

Over the past two years, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina has weathered Marketplace changes, reporting $405 million in losses on Affordable Care Act plans alone. These losses have played a major role in BCBSNC’s debate over whether to participate this coming year in the ACA and similar losses are what Aetna and United Healthcare cited as their reasons for exiting the market in 2016.  Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina reiterated today that they are “doing everything [they] can to make the ACA work for North Carolina.”  Without Blue Cross Blue Shield NC’s participation in the Marketplace, 600,000 residents of NC would be at risk of losing their coverage, which is not something the company was willing to risk.  “This is our home too,” says Brad Wilson in an article released by BCBSNC earlier today, “and it’s important that our families, friends and neighbors – our customer – have access to the coverage they need.”

For more information on North Carolina insurance coverage, 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.

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Combat the Rising Cost of NC Health Insurance with Short Term Coverage

Monday, April 25th, 2016

Health care concept. Expensive medical insurance or medical budgThe health insurance market has changed dramatically under the Affordable Care Act and it continues to change every year.  2016 brought a greater than anticipated rise in the cost of health insurance premiums across the board and many Americans are now wondering what other options are available.  Although in the past short term health insurance plans were primarily geared toward individuals who needed to fill a gap in health coverage due to a move, a job change, or recent graduation, many people are now taking a closer look at the benefits of temporary health insurance policies.

In terms of affordability, short term health insurance plans are typically much less expensive than regular health insurance policies.  Because they do not have to cover the 10 essential benefits required under the ACA, short term plans have much lower monthly premiums and are an excellent way to make sure you have coverage in case of an unexpected accident or illness.  Many temporary plans also include copayments for doctor visits as well as prescription drug coverage. (more…)

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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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