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

Let Blue Map Guide You Through Annual Enrollment

Friday, December 5th, 2014

Compass RoseAs you may be aware, the Annual Enrollment Period for health insurance will begin on November 15th. If you a currently enrolled in a BCBSNC plan, you might be unsure what steps you need to take, if any, during the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) if you want to keep your plan or change your plan for 2015.  That is why Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC has created Blue Map.

Blue Map is a tool created especially for BCBSNC members who purchased individual plans to help guide them through the renewal process. If you are enrolled in a plan through BCBSNC and it is not through an employer and you’re not enrolled in Medicare, then you are likely on an individual plan. Your steps during AEP are based on several different factors and Blue Map can help you determine which steps you should take when Annual Enrollment begins .

Members can access Blue Map through the BCBSNC website. You will be prompted to answer the following questions and, based on your answers, Blue Map will help guide you in the right direction. Here is a preview of what questions to expect through Blue Map:

 

1. Are you currently a member?

2. Do you get your health insurance through work?

3. Are you enrolled in a Medicare plan?

4. Do you have a Grandfathered Plan? (If you enrolled in your plan on or before March 23, 2010 and no changes have been made, you are likely on a Grandfathered plan)

5. Do you have a Transitional Plan? (If you enrolled in your plan between March 24, 2010 and October 1, 2013, have not made any changes, and did not move to a new Affordable Care Act plan, you are likely on a Transitional plan)

6. Do you get a subsidy (tax credit) from the Health Insurance Marketplace for your monthly health insurance bills?

Your answers to these questions will determine what your next steps should be. Blue Map is a simple, straight forward tool that can help members understand exactly what they will need to do, if anything, to ensure they keep their plan or move to a new plan in 2015.

For more information on Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina health insurance coverage in North Carolina, 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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Dates to Keep In Mind – Annual Enrollment 2015

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

bigstockphoto_eye_glasses_and_pen_on_calenda_3977626Annual Enrollment 2015 is rapidly approaching and Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina has you covered.  Every Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC member is a valued customer and as Open Enrollment gets underway there are some things you may need to know.  First of all, if you are happy with the BCBSNC health plan you currently have, you can keep it for another year.  Your plan will automatically renew.  Keep in mind, however, that you may still have a little work to do with regards to the renewal process, depending on the type of plan in which you are currently enrolled.  In order to make this easier for you, BCBSNC has created Blue Map, a tool developed especially for members who purchase individual plans.

If you are not yet a Blue Cross Blue Shield member, but are interested in purchasing a health insurance plan, Annual Enrollment is the time to do it.  The Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) is the once-a-year window when you are able to renew, update, change, or enroll in an Affordable Care Act (ACA) plan.  If you do not do so, keep in mind that you cannot make changes or enroll a new plan once AEP ends unless you have a Qualifying Life Event that makes you eligible for the Special Enrollment Period.  The Annual Enrollment Period ends on February 15th, 2015.

Here are some important dates to keep in mind:

  • Late Oct.-Early Nov:
  • All BCBSNC members will receive information about your 2015 rate and any other changes to your benefits.
  • Nov. 15, 2014:
  • The Annual Enrollment Period begins.  This is time to make limited changes to your current plan, change to a new plan, or enroll in a BCBSNC health plan for the first time.
  • Dec. 15, 2014:
  • This is the deadline to make changes to your plan or enroll in a new plan in order for coverage to begin on January 1, 2015.
  • Jan. 1, 2015:
  • Coverage and new rates for your 2015 plan begins (provided you met the deadline of Dec. 15).
  • Feb. 15, 2015:
  • This is the last day you can make changes to your plan before the end of the Annual Enrollment Period.

Annual Enrollment doesn’t have to be overwhelming.  Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina is here to provide not only the best coverage you can buy, but also guidance when you need it most.

For more information on Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina health insurance coverage in North Carolina, 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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I Want to Hold Your Hand – Open Enrollment 2015

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

Face Of WomanWith all the changes in health insurance due to the Affordable Care Act, you may be facing Open Enrollment 2015 with a sense of dread, but don’t worry!  Jerry Ballard and Associates is here to help.  We understand how difficult and confusing the process of applying for health insurance can be and it is our pleasure to help you make it through with as little stress as possible.  If you are our customer, and need assistance making changes to your existing BCBSNC health plan or you are trying to obtain new health coverage, we are more than happy to help you choose the perfect plan for you and your family.

Because of the changes brought about by the Affordable Care Act, it is more important than ever for you to have a BCBSNC Authorized Agent to assist you with your application and other insurance needs.  Negotiating the government Marketplace and trying to determine subsidy eligibility can be overwhelming to say the least.   Between effective date deadlines, trying to make payments, and understanding various plans and benefit coverages, it is easy to feel lost.  Having an agent who is knowledgeable, concerned and easy to talk to can make all the difference in the world.  Further, there is almost nothing more frustrating than being placed on hold for extended periods of time or being unable to speak to a live person when you need it most.  At Jerry Ballard and Associates, we guarantee that will not be your experience.

Insurance is what we sell, but customer service is what we do best and we are committed to giving our clients the very best of our knowledge and attention.  We value your time and understand your concerns and we are prepared to meet the challenges of Open Enrollment 2015 with your family’s needs in mind.  November 15th and the start of Open Enrollment is just around the corner and we know you have a choice when it comes to your health insurance agent.  Let us show you what makes not only a Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina health plan the very best you can buy, but also what makes Jerry Ballard and Associates the agency you want in your corner.

Whether you are looking for Blue Advantage, Blue Select, Blue Value, or Dental Blue, Jerry Ballard and Associates is your agency of choice for Open Enrollment 2015.

For more information on Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina health insurance coverage in North Carolina, 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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Ready or Not, Here it Comes – Open Enrollment 2015

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

Open Enrollment 2015 is just around the corner and Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina is ready!  bigstockphoto_boys_racing_dog_866915


Open Enrollment begins November 15th and runs through February 15th, so if you are currently uninsured, you will be able to apply and obtain coverage very shortly.  Although Open Enrollment will not begin until mid-November, you can begin getting prepared even now.  In fact, there are a number of questions you can ask yourself, as well as some important pieces of information you can gather so that you are as ready as BCBSNC to successfully navigate Open Enrollment 2015.

As you are considering applying for health insurance, there are a few important things to consider:

  • Are you looking for a policy for yourself or are you including family members on your policy?
  • Do you think you will qualify for a government subsidy? (Subsidies are based on your Modified Adjusted Gross Income and the number of people in your household)
  • What kind of Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC health plan are you looking for?  Do you prefer a high deductible plan or something with co-payments?
  • How important is the size of the network when it comes to health providers in your area?

Also, remember that if you are applying for a government subsidy, in order to secure an effective date of January 1st, you must complete your application by December 15th.

The Affordable Care Act has created a lot of change and because of that you may have a lot of questions.  Don’t let Open Enrollment overwhelm you.  BCBSNC wants to put you and your family members into a health plan that will offer you a large network of providers, preventive care covered at 100% and coverage you can count on in case of emergencies.  Finding the perfect plan is important and BCBSNC offers a variety of health plan options to best fit your family’s needs.

For more information on Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina health insurance coverage in North Carolina, 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 Essentials of Health Care

Friday, October 3rd, 2014

bigstockphoto_trust_4294608Webster’s Dictionary defines the word essential as “extremely important and necessary,” and Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina couldn’t agree more.  Regardless of the coverage you choose, health care reform requires that qualified health plans include 10 essential health benefits that fall into the following categories that will help keep you and your family healthy and secure.

  • Ambulatory Services
  • Emergency Services
  • Hospitilization
  • Maternity and Newborn Care
  • Mental health and substance abuse services (including behavioral health)
  • Prescription drugs
  • Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices
  • Laboratory services
  • Preventive/wellness services and chronic disease management
  • Pediatric services, including dental and vision

BCBSNC understands that your health care matters and that these essential services are extremely important and necessary to your overall wellness and peace of mind.  With a variety of health care policies to meet your essential needs, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina is committed to offering quality health care that more than covers the basics.  To find a BCBSNC health plan you can trust with your essential care, click here.

For more information on health insurance coverage in North Carolina, please visit our website at www.nchealthplans.com or call our toll free number 888-765-5400 and speak with one of our professional agents. Our agency provides coverage for health insurance in North Carolina through Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC). It would be our pleasure to help you navigate through the Health Care Reform changes in accordance with the new regulations of Obamacare. Call us for details.

 

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Go Blue – Avoid Paying Penalties

Monday, September 29th, 2014

GO BLUE – AVOID UPCOMING TAX PENALTIES

In 2014, the Affordable Care Act mandates that all taxpayers purchase health insurance or pay a tax penalty when reconciling taxes.  In addition, the penalty will increase every year until 2016.  Below is a list of the graduating tax penalty as outlined in the Affordable Care Act.

Taxes and BCBSNC

• 2014: a minimum of $95 per year or up to 1% of annual individual income (whichever is greater)

• 2015: a minimum of $325 per year or up to 2% of annual individual income (whichever is greater)

•2016: a minimum of $695 per year or up to 2.5% of annual individual income (whichever is greater)

To avoid having to pay these penalties, get your Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina FREE RATE QUOTE today.  BCBSNC offers a variety of health insurance plans and premiums that will work for both you and your budget.  To find the plan that suits you best, click here.

For more information on health insurance coverage in North Carolina, please visit our website at www.nchealthplans.com or call our toll free number 888-765-5400 and speak with one of our professional agents. Our agency provides coverage for health insurance in North Carolina through Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC). It would be our pleasure to help you navigate through the Health Care Reform changes in accordance with the new regulations of Obamacare. Call us for details.

Free Rate Quote and Apply Online

Who Qualifies for a Government Subsidy?

Monday, September 22nd, 2014

To help make health care more affordable, the federal government offers advance premium tax credits, or subsidies, to low-to middle-income individuals and families. Your subsidy is an advance premium tax credit and is applied directly to your premium. Government subsidies reduce the amount you pay for your insurance plan.

To be eligible for a subsidy, you must meet certain requirements.

  • Be between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty level (FPL).
  • Not eligible for public coverage, such as Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program,  Medicare or military coverage.
  • Not have access to insurance through an employer. An exception can be made if the employer’s plan doesn’t cover at least an average of 60% of covered benefits or if the employee’s share of the premium is more than 9.5% of his or her income.  Employers can tell you if their plans meet these criteria.

Subsidies can be used on any plan you choose except for grandfathered plans and catastrophic plans for those under 30. How much of a subsidy you qualify for is based on income and household size.

Our free BCBSNC Rate Quote offers a calculator to determine if a subsidy may be available to you.

      2013 POVERTY GUIDELINES FOR THE 48 CONTIGUOUS STATES AND THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA   
Persons in family/household 100% Poverty guideline 250% Poverty guideline 400% Poverty guideline

1

$11,490 $28,735 $45,960

2

$15,510 $38,775

$62,040

3

$19,530 $48,825

$78,120

4

$23,550

$58,875

$94,200

5

$27,570

$68,925

$110,280

6

$31,590 $78,975

$126,360

7

$35,610 $89,025

$142,440

8

$39,630 $99,075

$158,520

For each additional person, add: $4,020 $10,050

$16,080

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information on health insurance coverage in North Carolina, please visit our website at www.nchealthplans.com or call our toll free number 888-765-5400 and speak with one of our professional agents.Our agency provides coverage for health insurance in North Carolina through Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC). It would be our pleasure to help you navigate through the Health Care Reform changes in accordance with the new regulations of Obamacare. Call us for details.

 

 

 

 

 

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What Constitutes a Qualifying Life Event?

Monday, September 15th, 2014

bigstockphoto___155599Negotiating new terminology is one of the toughest parts to understanding all the recent changes in health care policies and procedures.  Terms like “open enrollment,” government subsidies,” and “qualifying life event (QLE)” can be confusing even to the most thorough students of health insurance and the Affordable Care Act.  When applying for health coverage, however, understanding these terms and how they can affect your health care options is an absolute imperative.

Under the Affordable Care Act, there are two different periods in which an individual may apply for health insurance.  The first is referred to as Open Enrollment and during this time any person may apply for health coverage.  During Special Enrollment, however, there are more restrictions and a person is required to have what is referred to as a Qualifying Life Event (QLE) in order to acquire health insurance.  If you do not have one of these Qualifying Life Events, you may not purchase health insurance during Special Enrollment and must wait until the Open Enrollment Period.  This is not a Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina policy, but rather a policy of the federal government under the Affordable Care Act with which BCBSNC must comply.

Basically, a Qualifying Life Event is a specific circumstance that has altered your life—and there are strict guidelines to determine exactly what qualifies.  For example, a recent  marriage, divorce or birth of a child are all events that would make you eligible to enroll in health coverage during a Special Enrollment period, so long as you enroll within 60 days of that life altering event.  Losing previously held health insurance involuntarily is another example of a Qualifying Life Event, as is changing your permanent place of residence. If your income increases so that you are no longer eligible for Medicaid, you are also able to enroll in new coverage during a Special Enrollment Period.  Because the list of Qualifying Life Events is so varied, however, it is worth investigating whether you qualify to enroll during a Special Enrollment period.

Although the terminology can be confusing, it is important for you to understand what constitutes a Qualifying Life Event because it can have a huge impact on your ability to purchase health insurance.  In addition, the effective date of your coverage will depend on your QLE and the date of your application.

For more information on health insurance coverage in North Carolina, please visit our website at www.nchealthplans.com or call our toll free number 888-765-5400 and speak with one of our professional agents. Our agency provides coverage for health insurance in North Carolina through Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC). It would be our pleasure to help you navigate through the Health Care Reform changes in accordance with the new regulations of Obamacare. Call us for details.

 

Free Rate Quote and Apply Online

The Cost of Being Uninsured

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

bigstockphoto_colored_calculator_1756282Everyone knows you have to pay for health insurance, but did you know there is also a cost to being uninsured?  Under the Affordable Care Act there is a price to pay for not carrying health insurance. The penalty incurred for being uninsured is sometimes called the “individual responsibility payment” or the “individual mandate,” and the fine in 2014 is calculated one of two ways.  If you or your dependents do not have health insurance that qualifies as minimum essential coverage you will pay either 1% of your yearly household income or $95 per person, whichever is greater, for the year ($47.50 per child under 18).

Please note, however, that the penalty increases every year.  In 2015 it is 2% of income or $325 per person and in 2016 and later years it is 2.5% of income or $695 per person.  Also, it is important to remember that even if you pay the penalty, you still do not have health coverage and are responsible for 100% of your medical care.

The important thing to understand is that not only is health insurance a prudent decision for your life, it is also a wise choice for your wallet.  Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) offers an array of affordable health plans  that not only save you from unwanted out of pocket medical expenses, it can also save you the cost of being uninsured.  For a complete definition of what qualifies as minimum essential coverage and a comprehensive look at how the tax penalty for being uninsured is calculated review the Affordable Care Act guidelines with IRS.

For more information on health insurance coverage in North Carolina, please visit our website at www.nchealthplans.com or call our toll free number 888-765-5400 and speak with one of our professional agents. Our agency provides coverage for health insurance in North Carolina through Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC). It would be our pleasure to help you navigate through the Health Care Reform changes in accordance with the new regulations of Obamacare. Call us for details.

Free Rate Quote and Apply Online

Where Does My Health Insurance Premium Really Go?

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

Posted April 14, 2014 – Blue Cross Blue Shield- Health Care Reform Blogbigstockphoto_colored_calculator_1756282

By: James LaCorte

Where does my health insurance premium really go? Health insurance customers often ask a simple question about the premium they pay every month:

Where does my premium dollar go? They’re usually not asking for a quick tutorial on how insurance works: Most people understand that everyone pays into a pool, and only those who need medical care take money out in the form of health care claims. What many of these folks really are asking is how much of that money actually pays for health care and how much goes toward running an insurance company — or toward profits.  Fair question.  Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) paid $5 billion in claims in 2013. Recently we announced that we spent almost 86 cents of every premium dollar paying for our customers’ health care – doctor visits, surgery, tests, medicine, eyeglasses, etc.

Our non-medical spending largely goes toward customer service and technology. We are also a full-taxed company. In 2013, we paid out more than $100 million in local, state and federal taxes.

(more…)

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Do you Qualify for a Special Enrollment Period?

Monday, April 21st, 2014

Open enrollment for health insurance has ended; however you may still Questions and Answers signpostqualify for a special enrollment period due to a qualifying event.  Some examples of these qualifying events include:

  1. Marriage, having a baby, adopting a child or placing a child for adoption or foster care, moving outside your insurer’s coverage area, gaining citizenship, leaving incarceration.
  2. Gaining status as member of an Indian tribe. Members of federally recognized Indian tribes can sign up for or change plans once per month throughout the year.
  3. For people already enrolled in Marketplace coverage: Having a change in income or household status that affects eligibility for premium tax credits or cost-sharing reductions
  4.  Losing other health coverage—due to losing job-based coverage, divorce, the end of an individual policy plan year in 2014, COBRA expiration, aging off a parent’s plan, losing eligibility for Medicaid or CHIP, and similar circumstances. Important: Voluntarily ending coverage doesn’t qualify you for a special enrollment period. Neither does losing coverage that doesn’t qualify as minimum essential coverage.

For more information on health insurance coverage in North Carolina, please visit our website at www.nchealthplans.com or call our toll free number 888-765-5400 and speak with one of our professional agents. Our agency provides coverage for health insurance in North Carolina through Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC). It would be our pleasure to help you navigate through the Health Care Reform changes in accordance with the new regulations of Obama care. Call us for details.

 

Free Rate Quote and Apply Online

Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC FREE RATE QUOTE

Saturday, March 8th, 2014

bigstock--Free-Quote-blue-button-32217869Affordable Care Act Open Enrollment ends March 31. 2014.  You need to purchase your new health insurance policy before the Open Enrollment period ends, if you plan to purchase through the exchange, or face a penalty. GET YOUR FREE RATE QUOTE AND APPLY TODAY for Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina.

You will not have the opportunity to enroll again until  the next Open Enrollment starting November 2014 for coverage that starts January 1st, 2015. That means you cannot wait for a medical need to enroll.

Blue Advantage plans are available in all metallic levels: bronze, silver, gold and platinum. The levels differ by how much of your medical costs a plan will pay on average. They are based on approximate values for standard medical expenses.  If you qualify for a subsidy through the Marketplace, it could significantly decrease the amount of your monthly premium for your Blue Cross coverage.

For more information on health insurance coverage in North Carolina, please visit our website at www.nchealthplans.com or call our toll free number 888-765-5400 and speak with one of our professional agents. Our agency provides coverage for health insurance in North Carolina through Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC). It would be our pleasure to help you navigate through the Health Care Reform changes in accordance with the new regulations of Obama care. Call us for details.

Free Rate Quote and Apply Online