Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina recently announced that they intend to participate in the ACA for 2017 and will be offering health plans in all 100 counties of North Carolina. This decision came after much deliberation and on the heels of two major health insurance companies, United Healthcare and Aetna, announcing their withdrawal from the ACA in NC. Although BCBSNC’s participation for 2017 means at least one more year of ACA plans for the nearly 600,000 residents who are currently insured under the ACA, how is Blue Cross Blue Shield NC preparing for the unprecedented position of being the only real choice for consumers across much of the state?
Brad Wilson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Blue Cross Blue Shield NC explains.
In an op-ed article for the News and Observer on October 1, 2016, Brad Wilson called Blue Cross Blue Shield NC’s decision to stay in the game an “important commitment” to the residents of North Carolina. He explained that had BCBSNC pulled out of the ACA market for 2017, over 600,000 NC residents would have been left without an option for health insurance. The BCBSNC CEO went on to say that although he believes the decision was the right one, it also presents new challenges for an already troubled market.
Because ACA customers tend to be unhealthier and tend to use health care at a higher rate than non-ACA customers, the company is forced to reevaluate their ability to sustain an influx of possibly 260,000 new ACA clients. Not only must BCBSNC face the challenge of yet another rate increase to support the ACA business, but are also facing the reality of trying to prepare at the last minute for a customer service department that can handle an extraordinarily high volume of calls and customer needs.
Brad Wilson assures that Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina has “been working around the clock to prepare for these new customers… and are better prepared to manage expectations throughout this enrollment period.” Some of the ways Blue Cross Blue Shield NC is preparing is by developing additional online resources and increasing the number of customer service personnel and phone lines available to consumers. That being said, Mr. Wilson also recognizes the fact that there will undoubtedly be a strain on the company both financially and in terms of service capabilities. Having already lost upwards of $4 million dollars in 2014 and 2015, Brad Wilson reminds North Carolinians that the “commitment to serve the state cannot subordinate our obligation to our customers to be financially stable for the long term – which cannot occur if large financial losses continue despite having raised premiums.”
As Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina prepares for Open Enrollment 2017, we at NC Health Plans are likewise committed to assisting all of our customers through the enrollment process. We offer the most up-to-date enrollment tools available and want to help our clients enroll in the best health plan available with the least amount of stress involved. 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.