May 16th, 2022

Scout is a year and a half old chocolate Lab who belongs to our agency owner, Kennon Wainwright. Scout loves to hang out in the office, visit each employee for belly rubs and treats and takes long naps. Below are some of his favorite things:

Favorite Toy – Tennis ball

Favorite Food – Iams dog food and El’s Shrimp Burgers in Morehead City

Best Buddies – His two human sisters, Harper and Virginia

Favorite Health Insurance Agency – NC Health Plans/Jerry Ballard & Associates, of course!

Favorite Pastime – Riding on the boat with his family on the Crystal Coast

Duke Research has an article here that shows just how healthy it is to own a pet.

Blue to Blue for BCBS NC Medicare Members

April 28th, 2022

Hear ye!  Hear ye!

Calling all Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Medicare Supplement Members!

Did you know you have the ability to switch your Blue Cross NC Medicare Supplement coverage to a different Blue Medicare Supplement plan that fits your changing needs with possible savings? Introducing the Blue to Blue program!

During the month of May 2022 you can explore your options if you feel locked in a plan that may no longer be right for you!  You can switch your Blue Medicare Supplemental coverage to another Blue Medicare Supplement product of your choice:

-Without additional medical exams*

-Without underwriting or additional health questions*

-Without any hassle!

Take a look at this BCBS of NC Medicare Blue to Blue article for more information!

For more information, call us at 888-765-5400 to see if Blue to Blue can benefit you!

*Some limitations may apply. Consult with an agent for details.

4 Tips for Your Transition to Medicare in North Carolina

May 19th, 2021

As Medicare agents, we understand that transitioning to Medicare can be overwhelming. Here are a few quick tips to help simplify this process:

Tip #1Don’t Wait

Did you know you can apply for Medicare 3 months before your birth month? This is called your Initial Enrollment Period. As you approach Medicare eligibility, we recommend applying when your Enrollment Period starts so you are not left having to make last minute decisions. This also helps avoid any gaps in coverage and helps facilitate a seamless transition off of your current plan. Those that are already receiving Social Security benefits will be automatically enrolled in Medicare and will receive your Medicare card in the mail several months before turning 65.

Tip #2- Know your Options

When you are Medicare eligible, you can choose between several types of Medicare plans. The two most popular options in North Carolina are Medicare Supplement and Medicare Advantage plans.

Medicare Supplement plans are designed to fill in the holes or gaps in coverage that exist within original Medicare (parts A and B). Out-of-pocket costs with Part A and Part B can pile up, especially if you have a chronic health condition or a medical emergency. Medicare Supplement plans help cover those out-of-pocket Medicare costs and minimize what you pay on medical expenses. These plans do not include drug coverage, so you will need a separate Drug plan (part D) to go along with your supplement.

Medicare Advantage plans (also known as Part C) are an “all in one” alternative to Original Medicare. These plans are offered by insurance companies like Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina. If you join a Medicare Advantage Plan, you still have Medicare.  These “bundled” plans include benefits for Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance), and usually include Medicare drug coverage (Part D).

Tip #3- Aim for a Smooth Transition

Once you secure your Medicare plan, it is important to avoid any gaps in your health coverage. Do not cancel any existing coverage until your new plan has begun. If you are enrolled through the Health Insurance Marketplace it is important to remove yourself from that plan once your new Medicare coverage starts. You will not be eligible for any Federal Subsidies through the Marketplace if you are eligible for Medicare.

Tip #4- Seek Help

We know that making decisions on Health Insurance and understanding the Medicare market can be extremely confusing. Seeking help from a licensed agent can be your biggest asset during this transitional period. At NC Health Plans, our Medicare specialists are able to break down your options and simplify these confusing topics. We are just a phone call away! Please call 888-765-5400 to speak with one of our Medicare Specialists today.

2021 Changes to NC Health Insurance Premiums and Marketplace Subsidies

April 8th, 2021

Major changes have been implemented to lower health insurance costs for people purchasing their coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace.  Under the American Rescue Plan of 2021, many Americans will become newly eligible for federal government subsidies applied toward monthly Insurance premiums.  This will trigger plans to be much less expensive for many people that have shopped for health insurance through the Marketplace in years past. 

Who is Eligible?

  1. People with Higher Income:

Since the introduction of the ACA, individuals and families making over 400% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) did not qualify for a subsidy.  After April 1st, 2021, many people making a higher income or over 400% of the FPL will be eligible for a subsidy.  This federal subsidy will help reduce the cost of the health insurance.  Many Americans will pay significantly lower monthly premiums for Individual market health plans.

2. People currently eligible for a Subsidy:

Many people who are already eligible and already receiving a subsidy will qualify for more subsidy.  Estimates indicate that most people will see health insurance costs decrease and some will pay as little as $0 per month with the new subsidies applied.  This group should see a significant change in the cost of plans.

When Can I Apply or Change My Plan?

The Federal Government has created a Special Enrollment Period which will allow health insurance shoppers to enroll in a plan now.  This Enrollment Period is currently set to end on Aug 15th, 2021.  Once you apply, coverage can become effective as early as the 1st of the month following when you apply.

You can View Plans and Apply Online here for a plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace.

Tools for Managing Your Healthcare and Health Insurance from Home

May 6th, 2020

Circumstances with COVID-19 have created unique challenges for managing individuals healthcare and health insurance needs.  Despite these unusual times, many tools have grown in popularity due to the lifestyle changes we are all experiencing.  Here are a few tools that are currently allowing many North Carolinian’s to manage their healthcare and health insurance needs despite these unprecedented times.

1. Virtual Doctors’ Appointments

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina has taken steps to increase access the virtual (or telehealth) visits with doctors for current members.  As long as you are seeing an in-network physician, you can rest assured the visit will be covered under a Blue Cross of NC policy.  Learn more about these coverage’s.

Blue Cross NC has decided to waive cost sharing for all telehealth visits conducted through MDLive and/or Teladoc for 90 days, effective March 6, 2020 through June 4, 2020.  Stay tuned for updates as these dates are subject to change. You can also qualify to earn $25 in Blue Rewards just by registering with MDLive.

2. Blue Connect- Online Member Portal

Blue Connect is an online tool for existing Blue Cross NC members.  While the tool has been available for years, the appeal of Blue Connect has never been as obvious as it is today.  Blue Connect allows members to manage insurance policies online or through the Blue Connect app.  From the online portal, members can check the status of a claims, manage billing activity, change an address, search in network providers, and so much more.  The objective is to make managing and accessing your policy easier than ever and under the circumstances, the Blue Connect tool is proving its value.  If you are an existing Blue Cross NC member and have not created a Blue Connect account, now is the time to further explore this tool and it’s capabilities. The Blue Connect system is constantly being updated with enhancements to broaden capabilities and improve the user experience.

3. Online Shopping and Enrollment Tools with phone support

During times of uncertainty, the importance of adequate healthcare coverage continues to be top of mind.  The risk of expensive medical bills associated with a high level of care easily justifies the need for good medical coverage.  However, many North Carolinian’s are faced with loss of employer sponsored group coverage during these unfortunate times.  Our online tools will allow health insurance shoppers to view plans and quickly apply online for coverage under many of these difficult circumstances.  The loss of employer sponsored group coverage is considered a qualifying event and will allow an individual or family to enroll in health insurance coverage, as long as one applies within 60 days of the date of loss of group coverage. We have licensed benefit advisors that will walk you through the entire process when in this situation. Our team is very experienced with such situations and specialize in helping people understand their insurance options. You can reach our staff by calling (888)765-5400 to further discuss coverage needs.

For more information on North Carolina Health Insurance coverage, please visit our website at or call our toll free number 888-765-5400 and speak with one of our experienced and professional agents.

Introducing New North Carolina Medicare Agents

April 8th, 2020

NC Health Plans / Jerry Ballard and Associates would like to introduce its two newest Medicare Agents, Emily McLaurin and Savannah Clark. Emily and Savannah have grown with the team by recently obtaining a North Carolina Medicare License. These two agents are eager to broaden their service to include North Carolina’s Medicare beneficiaries. As one of the top NC Medicare Agencies for Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC, our team strives to help people understand the changing Medicare market and ease the process of choosing a plan that protects both their health and savings.

Countless Medicare plan options and vast amounts of information, often create a sense of confusion and overwhelm consumers that are forced to make decisions about healthcare coverage. While there are numerous Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement options available, understanding the difference in these options is key to making decisions about which plan best meets your needs. Speaking with one of our licensed Medicare agents will help you understand these differences and simplify the enrollment process. In turn, you will have peace of mind knowing you are choosing a plan that is right for you. To get started, you may CLICK HERE to generate your personalized Medicare quote.

For more information on North Carolina Health Insurance coverage, please visit our website at or call our toll free number 888-765-5400 and speak with one of our experienced and professional agents.

Blue Cross NC’s Response to COVID-19 and Continuing Developments

March 24th, 2020

North Carolina’s largest Health Insurer has been working around the clock to provide guidance and information to members related to COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in recent weeks.  This rapidly developing outbreak has led Blue Cross to make frequent updates to this Blue Cross NC webpage.  The latest information from teams following the virus is being posted here throughout the day and updated as more information becomes available.  From the availability of video and phone doctor appointments to regulations and guidance from the CDC, this is a great resource for everything COVID-19. 

Other Helpful Resources

Other very helpful resources for combating the spread and breaking news on this virus is the government website for the Center For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  The CDC encourages educating Americans on preventive measure and aspects of the Coronavirus which will help in management of the outbreak.

North Carolina DHHS has also created a webpage that allows you to learn more about when and how to be tested in North Carolina should you feel any common symptoms.

Medicare Population Considerations

One group that may be at higher risk of complications from COVID-19 is the older population and people with underlying medical conditions.  Many within this group are on Medicare Advantage plans.  Under Federal Government regulations, a Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period is currently taking place and will end on March 31st 2020.  This is a good time for existing Medicare Advantage members to give consideration to all Medicare plans as many have an opportunity to make changes to Medicare Advantage plans before the March 31st deadline.

As information continues to develop, you can rest assured that we will make you aware of the information that will help protect the health and well-being of all North Carolinians.

For more information on North Carolina Health Insurance coverage, please visit our website at or call our toll free number 888-765-5400 and speak with one of our experienced and professional agents.

2020 Open Enrollment for NC Health Insurance

October 31st, 2019

The Health Insurance Open Enrollment Period for 2020 begins on Friday, November 1st, and we are ready to assist individuals and families in applying for Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina Health Coverage. November 1st to December 15th marks a very important time period for health insurance known as the annual Open Enrollment Period. Whether you are currently enrolled in a Blue Cross Blue Shield plan, or looking into your Health Plan options for the first time, we are here to help find the best plan for you!  As we approach Open Enrollment, it is important to be aware of important updates, dates and deadlines that relate to your Blue Cross Blue Shield health coverage in 2020.

Blue Cross NC Rate Decreases in 2020

This summer, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina announced that all 100 Counties in North Carolina will experience Health Care Rate Decreases for year 2020. This rate decrease is an overall average of 5.2 percent for Affordable Care Act plans offered to individuals and families in 2020. There is also an average 3.3 percent decrease for those plans offered to small businesses with one to 50 employees. These rate decreases show a total reduction of $238 million to health care costs in 2020.

Does this mean your premium will decrease next year? Health Insurance premiums will always vary based on your location, age, and federal tax credit/subsidy applied to your premium. Therefore, not every Blue Cross NC member in North Carolina will experience the same amount in rate changes for 2020.

When is Open Enrollment for 2020?

The NC Health Insurance annual Open Enrollment Period begins on Friday, November 1st and lasts through Sunday, 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, 2020. This will also be your initial premium due date.

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, generate your BCBSNC 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, you may now apply for up to 360 days of coverage under one Short Term application. In addition, there are other plans offering up to 3 years of coverage. For more information about these plans, generate your Short Term Insurance Quote.

How Do You Apply/Renew?

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. This is the easiest time of year to apply for coverage, and the application process has never been more simple! You can now apply for your subsidy and complete the application process completely online. Existing Marketplace members who need to update their application or change their plan can also complete this process online. CLICK HERE to generate your 2020 rate quote and start your application. You can begin your application or renew your existing coverage for 2020 starting November 1st, 2019.

For more information on North Carolina Health Insurance coverage, please visit our website at or call our toll free number 888-765-5400 and speak with one of our experienced and professional agents.



October 23rd, 2019

Did you know your dental health is linked to your overall health? Daily dental care and routine checkups can help you stay healthy. Blue Cross NC offers affordable dental plans in addition to great health care coverage.

Blue Cross NC plans start as low as $22.95 and pays 100% of in-network preventive care services with no deductible and 100% of the allowed amount on out-of-network preventive care services after $20 copay.  No deductible on in-network preventive care services.

Call our office today (888-765-5400) and speak with a qualified representative.  You can CLICK HERE to get your free Dental Quote and Apply on Line.  Also, you do not have to wait for an Open Enrollment Period, you can apply all year round.

For more information on North Carolina Health Insurance coverage, please visit our website at or call our toll free number 888-765-5400 or our local number 252-726-5400 and speak with one of our experienced and professional agents.


Meet Our New Team Member, Emily McLaurin

October 17th, 2019

We are excited to announce the newest member of our team at Jerry Ballard and Associates, Emily McLaurin. Emily has just finished her appointment and licensing for her North Carolina Health Insurance License. In the short time she has been with Jerry Ballard & Associates/NC Health Plans Agency, we have gained respect and admiration for her loyalty and desire to help our clients with their customer service needs.

Emily previously worked in the banking industry and graduated from East Carolina University in Greenville, NC with a BS Degree in Clothing and Textiles, with a minor concentration in Business. She resides in beautiful Carteret County, North Carolina with her husband and son and also has two grown daughters and a son-in-law. Emily loves living along the Coast in Eastern North Carolina and spending time with her family.

Emily’s exceptionally positive attitude and bright spirit will enhance the experience for all of our Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina clients. She is delighted to help guide our existing and new clients through navigating the health insurance marketplace.  Her wonderful spirit is refreshing to all, but her compassion for the elderly makes it a delight when our seniors call in to go over their Medicare Supplement needs. At Jerry Ballard & Associates, we strive to provide the best customer service for all North Carolinians and Emily is excited to use her customer service background to help meet the needs of all of our clients.

For more information on North Carolina Health Insurance coverage, please visit our website at or call our toll free number 888-765-5400 or our local number 252-726-5400 and speak with one of our experienced and professional agents.


October 17th, 2019

HOW CAN Medicare Advisors HELP YOU!       

Medicare Annual Enrollment Period started October 15th and ends December 7th, 2019.  As one of the top leading Medicare Advisors for Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina we are here to help and guide you.  With so many Medicare plans to consider and countless Medicare Supplement Insurance companies to compare, choosing the right coverage can be difficult. Fortunately, finding and purchasing a Medicare Supplement plan is easier with the help of a Medicare Advisor.

Whether your health care needs are straightforward or complex, Medicare and its various options can be extremely confusing. Simply browsing through Medicare Supplement options can be overwhelming.  When you talk with an independent Medicare Agent your options will become more clear.

Getting Medicare and purchasing a Medicare Supplement plan are decisions you should not take lightly. Whether you are working with a limited budget and you need to keep your costs low or you have growing medical needs and you want to make sure your care is covered, you need the right plan at the right price.  Get your free Medicare Supplement Quote and/or Apply on Line today.

When you work with a Medicare Advisor you will not have to second-guess your decision or worry that you have overlooked important information.  You will have peace of mind knowing you have made the best decision that will protect your budget and your health.

For more information on North Carolina Health Insurance coverage, please visit our website at or call our toll free number 888-765-5400 or our local number 252-726-5400 and speak with one of our experienced and professional agents.










October 15th, 2019

Short Term also known as Temporary health insurance is a fast, affordable and easy solution for people who are currently without health coverage.  Short-term health insurance plans are generally less expensive than qualified health plans under the AFFORDABLE CARE ACT and do not offer the same level of coverage.  Short term health insurance plans are intended for people who do not want to enroll in major medical insurance or who need temporary form of limited coverage before they obtain major medical health insurance.  Among other limitations and exclusions, short term health insurance plans generally do not cover pre-existing conditions that exist at the time of application or the minimum essential coverage of the ACA.

Short-term health insurance plans are limited in duration and you will stop receiving benefits when the plan expires. Plan duration and whether you can renew or buy a new plan after plan expiration depend on the plan you choose and the laws in your particular state. After a short-term plan expires, you must reapply to receive further benefits. If you are accepted for an additional term under a short-term health insurance plan, the plan’s deductible and other amounts reset so that amounts paid (or the satisfaction of conditions) under the initial plan are ignored.

APPLY TODAY and coverage can begin tomorrow if you qualify to enroll in a plan. Call NC Health Plans/ Jerry Ballard & Associates today at our toll free number 888-765-5400 to talk with one of our qualified representatives.

For more information on North Carolina Health Insurance coverage, please visit our website at or call our toll free number 888-765-5400 or our local number 252-726-5400 and speak with one of our experienced and professional agents.

Individual & Family Plans
Medicare Plans
Dental & Vision Plans
Short-term Plans