With Open Enrollment 2017 just around the corner, you may be hearing a lot of talk about the Health Insurance Marketplace. You also may be wondering exactly what a Health Insurance Marketplace is and how it will affect you and your ability to enroll in a health plan. Basically, a Health Insurance Marketplace, also called a Health Exchange, is an organization set up to facilitate the purchase of health insurance in each state under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare. Some states have elected to run their own Marketplace or Exchange, while other states are a part of the federal Exchange. North Carolina is a part of the federal Marketplace.
For North Carolina residents who do not have access to employer based insurance, the Marketplace (Exchange) provides access to individual health plans offered by private insurance companies. As of September 1, 2016, the only company in North Carolina considering continuing offering health plans on the Marketplace in 2017 is Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC. If you are applying for a federal subsidy or premium tax credit you are required to enroll a Marketplace plan. All Marketplace plans offer ten essential benefits, including preventive care, and ask no health questions regarding preexisting conditions.
The federal Marketplace has experienced very high amounts of traffic over the last few years, causing long hold times and difficulties with online applications. In response, some private companies have contracted with the federal government to offer shorter, more user-friendly Marketplace applications that can be accessed by contacting an agent. Your agent can help you compare plans offered on the Exchange and assist you with submitting an application.
Keep in mind, that under the Affordable Care Act, you are required by law to be enrolled in a health insurance plan or pay a federal tax penalty. For Marketplace plans and pricing, visit nchealthplans.com or contact one of our licensed agents at 888-765-5400. At NC Health Plans we are committed to helping you navigate Open Enrollment 2017 and all of your NC health insurance needs.