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NC Health Plans

Know your Networks for Blue Cross NC Health Insurance in 2019

When shopping the health insurance market, you will discover that there are many terms used to describe health plans. As you read about your options with Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, one of the most important terms to understand is those used to describe the network. The “Network” refers to the group of doctors and medical facilities that will accept your plan. Knowing and understanding your network helps you know what to expect when utilizing your health plan throughout the year. As you learn about your network options through Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, you will be able to better determine what plan is best for you and your family.

Blue Advantage and Blue Select

As you read about your health plan options with Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, you will discover that the names of each plan start with the name of the network. Blue Advantage and Blue Select are the names used to describe the largest network of doctors and hospitals available under Blue Cross NC plans. The Blue Advantage network is the broadest network, with over 95% of doctors and hospitals in North Carolina. Like Blue Advantage plans, Blue Select plans are also a broad network plan. However, the Blue Select network is broken down into two tiers. Blue Select policy holders will find that a bit more management is required when determining a facilities tier. For example, one may have different copays for specialist visits depending on if they visit a Tier 1 or Tier 2 provider.

Blue Value

The Blue Value network option is a more limited network than Blue Advantage or Blue Select. However, enrolling in a Blue Value plan can help you save money! Where these plans lack in flexibility to see a broad network of doctors and facilities, you will find that Blue Value options offer lower monthly premiums. If your zip code falls  within the Triangle region of North Carolina, you will find your Blue Value plans are with UNC Health Alliance. Doing your research and checking to see if your doctor is in-network is necessary when enrolling in a Blue Value plan. If you are planning on visiting a specific doctor, specialist, or medical facility, it is a good idea to call their office to ensure they will are within the network.

Blue Local

Blue Local with Atrium Health is the most limited of the four BCBSNC networks. This network with Atrium Health (also known as Carolinas HealthCare System) is available to Charlotte-area residents, including Anson, Cabarrus, Cleveland, Gaston, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Rowan, Stanley, and Union County. Like the Blue Value network, enrolling in a Blue Local plan will be a less expensive plan option, but have a more restrictive network. If you were to visit a doctor or facility outside of Atrium Health, then you would pay out-of-network rates.

Understanding these four network options will give you a great advantage while you navigate your Health Insurance plans. A little research and calling your doctors to learn what plans they accept could potentially offer you savings on your monthly premiums. CLICK HERE to generate a custom quote and discover what BCBSNC network options are available to you.

For more information on North Carolina Health 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.

North Carolina HMO vs PPO Health Insurance Plans : What’s the Difference?

When it comes to choosing a Health Insurance Plan, it is great to have options. However, having options in the Health Insurance market can quickly become overwhelming. Two types of health plans that shoppers often find themselves choosing between are HMO and PPO Plans. One of our most commonly asked questions from Health Plan shoppers is: “What is the difference between a HMO vs PPO plan?” There are many terms that are used to describe these types of health plans, and understanding them is key when determining which plan is right for you.

Health Maintenance Organization (HMOs)

The term HMO stands for Health Maintenance Organization. HMOs are regarded as a managed health care system, which provide prepaid medical services with little out of pocket expense. With an HMO plan, the subscriber will be required to see a Primary Care Physician (PCP) that is in network with their HMO plan. These plans have networks of medical providers, and subscribers must seek treatment from these providers. There are no out of network benefits under an HMO plan. Some HMO plans may also require your Primary Care Physician give you a referral in order to see a specialist. Because these types of plans have more restrictive networks, subscribers will generally have lower premiums and low deductibles under these plans.

Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs)

The term PPO stands for Preferred Provider Organization. These plans are an arrangement under which a group of independent doctors and hospitals become preferred providers in an area. PPO plans offer more flexibility and choices when it comes to choosing your doctor or hospital. Like HMOs, PPOs also have a network of providers. However, there are fewer restrictions on seeing providers who are not in network. Under a PPO plan, you will also usually have the benefit of seeing a specialist without a referral from your Primary Care Physician. Because PPO plans are more flexible, premiums tend to be higher, and it is common to have a deductible.

Point of Service (POSs)

Point of Service Plans (POS) are a hybrid plan that combine features of PPO and HMO plans. These plans are designed so the member can choose (at the point of service) which part of the plan they would like to utilize. If the subscriber stays in network with this plan, they will have HMO benefits. If the member sees an out of network provider, they will be responsible for the out of network rates. Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina offers a variety of Point of Service health plans. CLICK HERE to generate a custom quote and discover your plan options.

What do these plans have in common?

HMO’s, PPO’s and POS plans all have provider networks. A network refers to the list of doctors, hospitals, labs, and other providers that are contracted with the health plan. The difference in these plans network options is the size of the network, and whether or not the plan offers out of network benefits. Each of these types of plans also offer coverage for emergency services both in and out of network.

At NC Health Plans, we understand that making decisions within the Health Insurance market can be confusing. Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina offers a variety of health plans for both under 65 and Medicare shoppers. Give us a call to speak with one of our professional agents and discover what health plan will work best for you or your family.

For more information on North Carolina Health 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.

All You Need to Know About Blue Cross NC Medicare Supplement Plan G

For many years, Medicare Supplement Plan F has been the most popular Medicare Supplement plan. However, many Medicare beneficiaries are now choosing Plan G. Plan G has increasingly become the more popular Supplement plan as Plan F will no longer be offered in 2020 due to the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015.  In many scenarios, Plan G can offer significant yearly savings with very rich benefits.

What is the difference between Plan F and Plan G?

Medicare Supplement Plan G is nearly identical to Plan F except for one difference-the Part B deductible. The Part B deductible in 2019 is $185. The Plan G does not provide coverage for this deductible which means the member would be responsible for paying the Part B deductible ($185 in 2019) out of pocket when incurring Medical expenses for things like doctor’s office visits.  Once the Part B deductible is met, the Plan G pays exactly the same benefits as the Plan F.

Will I save money with Plan G?

Lower premiums are a primary reason why many Medicare beneficiaries are choosing Plan G. In recent years, the monthly premiums for Plan G have been significantly less than Plan F premiums. Plan G has also incurred lower rate increases in recent years.

What does Medicare Plan G pay for?

Medicare supplement Plan G will pay for your hospital deductible as well as other copays and coinsurance under Medicare.

What does Medicare Plan G not pay for?

Medicare Supplement Plan G does not pay for the Part B Deductible.  It also does not include any prescription drug coverage like most other Medicare Supplement plans.  Most Medicare Supplement beneficiaries also enroll in standalone Part D prescription plans for drug coverage.

Is plan G the most popular Medicare supplement?

In recent years, the Blue Cross NC Plan G has become the most popular Medicare Supplement.  Due to Plan F being discontinued for new enrollees in 2020, most insurance companies have strategically made the Plan G a more competitively priced and more attractive plan.

Why should I choose plan G?

Once Plan F is discontinued in 2020, Plan G is going to offer you the greatest benefits under any of the Medicare Supplement plans. Plan G is the most popular Medicare plan because of its wide range of coverage and minimal out of pocket exposure, while offering lower monthly premiums when compared to Plan F.

If you are turning 65 or considering switching your Medicare Supplement plan this year, give us a call and speak with one of our professional Medicare specialists. We are happy to discuss how Medicare Plan G will benefit you, and assist you through the application process. CLICK HERE to request a personal Medicare Supplement quote and discover your Medicare Supplement plan options.

For more information on North Carolina Health 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.

 New and Improved NC Health Insurance Marketplace Application

The Health Insurance Marketplace has recently approved a brand new, quick and simplified application process that will benefit all Marketplace customers, old and new. As we are in the Special Enrollment Period, existing Marketplace members often find themselves needing to make updates or changes within their application. On the other hand, new members who qualify for a Special Enrollment Period need to apply on the Marketplace within 60 days of their Qualifying Life Event. This new and improved application process was designed to help simplify the process and make your marketplace application easier to navigate. If you are in the market for an affordable Health Insurance plan, or are currently enrolled through the Health Insurance Marketplace, look no further to make your editing or enrollment process much easier during the Special Enrollment Period.  The process can be started by generating a quote and clicking “Enroll.”

Do you need to get enrolled in an affordable health plan?

If you qualify for Special Enrollment Period and have experienced a qualifying life event within 60 days, you may be eligible to enroll in an Affordable Care Act health plan. In order to apply for savings on the cost of these health insurance plans, one must apply for a federal tax credit or subsidy through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Subsidies can greatly reduce the cost of your monthly premiums, allowing you to save money on the cost of health insurance.  In the past, the application has been lengthy and repetitive.  However, the new and improved application process can simplify this experience, making it easier to navigate your application. This more user-friendly application helps guide you through the questions and makes them easy to understand. Generate a quote to discover if you are eligible for savings during the Special Enrollment Period and get started on your application!

Already enrolled through the Health Insurance Marketplace?

If you are already enrolled through the Health Insurance Marketplace and receive savings on your Health Insurance premium, there are several topics to consider during the Special Enrollment Period. These topics may trigger you to make changes to your application throughout the year. If you experience income changes, you must submit these changes to the marketplace. It is very important to keep your income up to date to ensure you are receiving the correct amount of federal tax credit, or savings on your premium. Other updates may include adding or removing household members from your application or reporting a move from your primary place of living. Utilizing this updated application platform will allow you to make these changes quickly and easily when needed. If you are enrolled through the Marketplace and need to make updates or changes, CLICK HERE to access your application or give us a call. We are happy to discuss these changes with you and ensure that you are taking the correct steps to update your application during the Special Enrollment Period.

For more information on North Carolina Health 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.

Short Term Health Insurance in North Carolina

Now that Open Enrollment Period has ended, it is important to know what Health Insurance options are available to you during the Special Enrollment Period. During Special Enrollment Period, you must have experienced a Qualifying Life Event in the past 60 days in order to enroll in an ACA-Compliant plan, also referred to as “Obamacare”. If you have missed Open Enrollment for 2019 health coverage, and do not have a qualifying life event, Short Term health insurance may be a great option for you!

What is Short Term Health Insurance?

Short Term, or Temporary Health Insurance, is a type of health plan that is considered Non ACA or Non Affordable Care Act Compliant. Because the plans are not compliant with the federal guidelines that are in place under the Affordable Care Act, there is not an Open Enrollment or Special Enrollment Period for these plans. This means that you can apply for the plans any time of year. You can also apply for coverage to start as early as the next day.

If comparing Short Term plans vs. ACA compliant plans, it’s important to understand that Short Term plans exclude coverage for pre-existing conditions, which is a requirement under Obamacare.

How Long Can You be Enrolled in a Short Term Plan?

Although these plans are labeled as “Short Term”, you can now enroll in a plan for up to 360 days a year under one application. This allows beneficiaries to bridge the gap until the following year’s Open Enrollment Period.  Another benefit of Short term plans is the simple application process. It takes only minutes to complete the online application! CLICK HERE to see Short Term plans and/or get started on your application.

Is it Affordable?

Short Term health coverage was originally designed to bridge gaps in coverage. However, their attraction has grown as some individuals and families began to enroll in these plans as a more affordable alternative. People are often shocked at the cost of ACA compliant health plans in today’s market, especially those who don’t qualify for government provided premium tax credits or subsidies. When filling out a Short Term Health Insurance application, one must answer a few health questions in order to be eligible to enroll. These factors allow Short Term premiums to be significantly less expensive than ACA plans and are therefore, often utilized by individuals and families to save on monthly premiums! Generate a Short Term Quote to view the rates and plan options.

If you have missed the Open Enrollment Period, don’t have coverage, need to bridge a gap in coverage, or are simply trying to save money on your health insurance, don’t go at this alone! Give us a call to speak with one of our professional agents and see if a Short Term Health insurance plan could benefit you and your family. We look forward to hearing from you!

For more information on North Carolina Health 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.

Kennon Wainwright Recognized as Top BCBS Medicare Agent in North Carolina

At NC Health Plans, we strive to assist our customers with their Health Insurance needs throughout every phase of life. One of our top priorities is aiding those in the Medicare, over 65 market and helping this group of North Carolinians understand their options within Medicare. We are very proud to announce that our agency manager, Kennon Wainwright, has now ranked two years straight within the top Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina Medicare Advisors. In 2018, Kennon ranked Number 2 in the state of North Carolina for top performance in assisting Medicare Supplement customers.  He also ranked Number 4 in the state for Medicare Advantage. He is now a member of the Exclusive Century Club, due to his top sales and services to Medicare Beneficiaries. Kennon is honored to serve so many North Carolinians as they make these important Medicare decisions. He quickly recognizes this opportunity would not be possible without the support of the NC Health Plans team and the strength of Blue Cross Blue Shield NC products and brand.

If you have not previously helped a parent or spouse with Medicare, then this topic can often be very foreign. We recognize the importance of understanding your transition into Medicare, and meeting your health care needs. We also understand that with so much information to read online, navigating the Medicare market can be overwhelming. Speaking directly with one of our professionals, like Kennon, can make this confusing topic easier to understand. It is important to learn how each part of Medicare will affect you, and discover which plans will meet your needs as you make this transition.

If you are turning 65 or transitioning to Medicare, we would be happy to help you through this process. Give us a call to discuss your BCBSNC Medicare plan options. To get started on this process, CLICK HERE to generate a custom Blue Cross NC Medicare quote.

For more information on North Carolina Health 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.

NC Health Plans Designated to 2019 Marketplace Elite Plus Circle of Champions

At NC Health Plans, we want wish you a very Happy New Year. We hope that 2019 brings you health and happiness! As the New Year begins, we would like to proudly announce that we have been designated to the Health Insurance Marketplace Elite Plus Circle of Champions for enrolling 500+ North Carolinians in coverage beginning January 2019. This is the highest achievement attainable for helping customers enroll in affordable health insurance through the Marketplace and we look forward to assisting more North Carolinians as we move into the Special Enrollment Period for 2019.

The health insurance Marketplace, or healthcare.gov is where individuals and families can apply for government subsidies to assist with the cost of health insurance. Subsidies can greatly reduce the cost of health insurance for those who qualify based on their yearly income. Now that we are outside of Open Enrollment for 2019, Special Enrollment Period has begun. You can still apply for Qualified Health Insurance if you have a qualifying life event. The most common Qualifying Life Events include losing coverage, getting married, having a child, or moving. Generate a quote to discover if you may be eligible for a subsidy during Special Enrollment Period.

Navigating the Health Insurance market can be confusing, and we are happy to assist you with every step of the way. We take pride in helping fellow North Carolinians apply for affordable health care through Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina. Thank you for a great year, and we hope to continue serving many of you in 2019.

For more information on North Carolina Health 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.

NC Health Plans Designated to Marketplace Elite Circle of Champions

NC Health Plans is proud to announce that we have been included in the Health Insurance Marketplace Elite Circle of Champions. This means that we have been designated the top achievement award for helping North Carolina residents enroll in Marketplace coverage through Healthcare.gov. Now that Health Insurance Open Enrollment Period for 2019 has arrived, we are ready to assist more North Carolinians in applying for affordable Qualified Health Care!

Healthcare.gov, also known as the Health Insurance Marketplace, is the avenue that individuals go through to apply for government subsidies to be applied towards their Health Insurance premiums. Subsidies are designed to lower the cost of health insurance for low and middle income individuals or families. These government applications can often be overwhelming and confusing, and we are happy to help you through this process. Our website provides consolidated Health Insurance applications, and we can help you apply for your subsidy right over the phone. CLICK HERE to generate a quote and discover if you are eligible for a subsidy.

We are proud to be recognized as a top leader and guide in helping individuals apply for affordable Health Insurance through Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina and we look forward to helping North Carolinians in the upcoming 2019 Open Enrollment Period, which starts November 1st and ends December 15, 2018.

For more information on North Carolina Health 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.

BCBSNC Mapping Blue Local w/ Duke Customers to New Health Plans in 2019

As Health Insurance Open Enrollment Period approaches on November 1st, it is important to be aware of any changes to your current plan. Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC has announced that they will no longer be offering the Blue Local with Duke Health and WakeMed plan starting January 1st, 2019. If you are currently enrolled in this plan, you will be mapped to either Blue Value with UNC Health Alliance or Blue Advantage depending on where you live. At NC Health Plans, we understand a change in your plan can be overwhelming and frustrating. However, we are here to help you navigate these changes for the upcoming year. If you are living in the Raleigh/Durham or Henderson regions and are currently on the Blue Local with Duke Health and WakeMed health plan, read below to learn more about your plan changes for 2019.

Raleigh/Durham Region

If you live in the Raleigh and Durham region, your new plan will automatically change to Blue Value with UNC Health Alliance in 2019. The most significant difference between your current plan and 2019 health plans will be the provider network. Duke Health and WakeMed are not in network with Blue Value with UNC Health Alliance. Therefore, if you visit a Duke or WakeMed doctor starting January 1st, you will pay out-of-network rates. However, UNC Health Alliance is partnered with top-rate physicians, practices and hospitals across 700 locations.

Henderson Region

Individuals living in Granville and Vance counties who are currently on Blue Local with Duke Health and WakeMed will be mapped to the Blue Advantage plan for 2019. The BCBSNC Blue Advantage Plan has the widest network of doctors and specialists. This includes Duke Health and WakeMed. With this new plan, you will have more in-network options to choose from.

What’s next?

Open Enrollment for Health Insurance will begin on November 1st and last through December 15, 2018. This is the time of year where you are able to make any changes to your current health insurance plan. If you would like to learn more about your BCBSNC Health Plan options, CLICK HERE to generate your custom health insurance quote. We would be happy to discuss your quote with you.

For more information on North Carolina Health 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.

2019 Open Enrollment for NC Health Insurance

Mark your calendars! The Health Insurance Open Enrollment Period for 2019 is rapidly approaching and at NC Health Plans, we are gearing up to assist individuals and families in applying for Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina Health Coverage for 2019. November 1st to December 15th marks a very important time period for health insurance known as the annual Open Enrollment Period. We know that navigating the insurance market can be overwhelming, and we are here to help! As we approach Open Enrollment, it is important to be aware of important dates and information about your 2019 health coverage. Read below to learn more about Open Enrollment Period for 2019.

When is Open Enrollment for 2019?

The NC Health Insurance annual Open Enrollment Period begins on Thursday, November 1st and lasts through Saturday, December 15th. This time period does not apply to non ACA-compliant plans, or ancillary plans such as dental or vision.

When Will Your Coverage Start?

If you enroll in a BCBSNC Health Insurance plan during Open Enrollment, your coverage start date will be January 1st, 2019. This will also be your initial premium due date.

Applying is Easy!

The annual Open Enrollment Period for Health Insurance is the easiest time of year to enroll in an Affordable Care Act-Compliant plan, also known as “Obamacare”. ACA-compliant plans are required to cover the same set of essential health benefits under the Affordable Care Act laws. Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina offers the broad majority of these plans across the entire state.

During this time period, anyone shopping for individual or family Health Insurance plans can enroll in ACA-Compliant Health Insurance without having a Qualifying Life Event. In other words, individuals do not need a special reason to apply for health coverage during Open Enrollment. To get started on your application, generate a BCBSNC Health Insurance quote!

Is it Affordable?
One of the amenities of the Affordable Care Act is federal tax credits, also known as subsidies. Subsidies are designed to lower the cost of health insurance for low and middle income individuals or families. Subsidies are primarily based on your household income per the number of people on your tax return. To determine if you are eligible for subsidy to help reduce your premium, you can generate a quote and estimate your subsidy.

For those who are not subsidy eligible, Short Term health insurance could potentially be a more affordable option. While these plans are not ACA-compliant, Short Term plans are now offered for up to 360 days of coverage while also offering an additional rider, Health Protector Guard, that will also enhance your benefits. For more information about these plans, generate your Short Term Insurance Quote.

For more information on North Carolina Health 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.

2019 Medicare Annual Enrollment Period with BCBSNC

The Annual Enrollment Period for Medicare customers is just around the corner and at NC Health Plans, we want to help you prepare for this important time of year. The Annual Enrollment Period for 2019 Medicare eligible customers will begin on October 15th, 2018 and last until December 7th. Medicare eligible customers are typically over the age of 65, or under 65 with certain disabilities.

During the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period, Medicare beneficiaries who have already enrolled in Parts A and B of Medicare will have the opportunity to APPLY FOR A NEW MEDICARE PLAN or make changes to their current Medicare plan for coverage to begin January 1st, 2019. Some actions Medicare beneficiaries can take during this time include:

  • Join a Medicare Advantage (Part C) Plan
  • Change from one Medicare Advantage plan to another
  • Change your Prescription Drug Coverage (Part D) plan if you are in Original Medicare
  • Change from a Medicare Advantage plan to Original Medicare

The deadline for the Medicare Annual Enrollment is December 7th, 2018.  To generate your  Medicare Supplement Rate Quote CLICK HERE to get started.  If you are to miss this deadline, you may be eligible for a Special Enrollment Period or a separate Open Enrollment Period. Speaking with one of our professional agents would help you identify your eligibility for coverage based on your unique circumstances.

At NC Health Plans, we know this can be confusing and overwhelming. For this reason, it’s always a good idea to contact an agent for guidance on the easiest ways to enroll or make changes to your Medicare plan. You can speak with one of our Blue Cross Blue Shield NC authorized agents for more information or assistance enrolling in Medicare. We would love to assist you!

For more information on North Carolina Health 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.

Happy Labor Day from NC Healthplans

NC Health Plans would like to wish you a happy, safe and enjoyable holiday weekend.  Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

Since Americans have many definitions of work based on many different experiences, a day set aside to honor their work reflects those differences. Marching in a parade, going swimming, visiting friends, having a cookout, Americans honor the essence of Labor Day simply, by taking the day off.

For more information on North Carolina health 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.