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Will Presidential Election Results Affect Obamacare?

Thursday, November 10th, 2016

Election Results 2016 ConceptThe Presidential election is officially over and Donald Trump has won, which may leave many Americans wondering what, if anything, will happen to the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare.  Although Mr. Trump suggested during his presidential campaign that he would push for changes in the ACA, those changes will likely not be immediate and will certainly take time to implement.

Open Enrollment 2017 is now in full swing and it’s important to remember that as of today, nothing has changed in regards to health insurance.  ACA/Obamacare plans are still available through BCBSNC in all 100 counties in North Carolina and now is the time to enroll!

For now and in the near future, the Affordable Care Act is the law of the land and Americans are still required to maintain health coverage or face a federal tax penalty.  Keep in mind that the tax penalty for 2017 is $695 per person or 2.5% of your income, whichever is higher, so there is a high cost to being uninsured.  Despite substantial losses, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina has chosen this year to continue participation in the ACA within North Carolina and is working diligently to provide ACA-compliant, quality health plans to the residents of NC.

Whether you need to make a change to your existing coverage or enroll in a health plan for the first time, at NC Health Plans we are here to help.  We can assist you in estimating subsidy eligibility and offer an online or over-the-phone application process for individuals enrolling through the health insurance Marketplace.  Don’t let another year pass without enrolling the health coverage you need for you and your family.

At NC Health Plans, we understand that your time is as valuable as your health and we work hard to help our customers enjoy the best possible enrollment experience.  For your free rate quote visit, call 888-765-5400, or click the button below.

BCBSNC – The Importance of Maintaining Health Coverage

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

bigstock_Healthcare_In_The_Unted_States_1719657One of the toughest things about health insurance is understanding the importance of continuing coverage during the months, or possibly even years, when it seems like you never really use your policy.  Now that monthly premiums are on the rise, you may be asking yourself if health insurance is really worth maintaining.  As licensed insurance agents, we often talk with people who obtain health coverage, possibly have a needed surgery or procedure, and then consider cancelling their policy.

Although that may seem like a logical financial decision, it’s important to understand that health insurance is not something you get because you are injured or ill, but rather something you maintain in case you are injured or become ill.  (more…)

BCBSNC and the North Carolina ACA Market

Monday, November 16th, 2015


Blue Cross Blue Shield NC recently released an article explaining a little of the data that has been collected regarding what North Carolina’s ACA market looks like and how that is affecting health insurance premiums all over the state.  Because BCBSNC is the only company offering health plans on the Marketplace in all 100 counties of North Carolina, they have the largest share of ACA business in the state and perhaps the clearest picture of how the Affordable Care Act has affected the cost of health insurance across the board.

According to BCBSNC, new ACA customers in the state continue to use their health care benefits more than originally expected and for highly expensive medical services.  In fact, according to claims data for 2014 and the first half of 2015, BCBSNC explained two important trends:  First, there was no slowdown in any residual demand for medical services from new customers entering the health insurance marketplace after the induction of the ACA and second, there was a prevalence of more chronic health conditions needing medical treatment. (more…)

Tax Penalties Will Increase for 2016 – Get Covered with BCBSNC

Sunday, October 25th, 2015

Lady using calculator, stressed

The Affordable Care Act mandated that all United States taxpayers purchase ACA approved, qualified health plans or pay a tax penalty when reconciling taxes.  This is often referred to as the individual mandate.  The individual mandate went into effect at the beginning of January 2014 and continues each year. The penalty for not having coverage is paid on your Federal Income Tax Returns for each full month you or a family member does not have health insurance (unless you have an exemption) and is based on your Modified Adjusted Gross Income.  In addition, the penalty increased in 2015 and is increasing again in 2016.  (more…)

The Cost of Insurance – How ER Visits Affect Your Premium

Tuesday, October 20th, 2015

emergency roomBlue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina has been providing quality, affordable health insurance to the residents of NC since 1933, but many members are concerned about recent or future rate increases.  In fact, it’s all over national news – the cost of health insurance is on the rise.  But do you know why?  Truthfully, it’s a complicated answer.  One of the reasons insurance premiums are going up, however, is because of the growing number of Emergency Room visits occurring on a regular basis.  Despite the fact that most people know the ER is rarely the most efficient place to get health care, many Americans still utilize the ER in non-emergency situations.  And the Emergency Room is expensive! (more…)

We Have You Covered with Blue! – 5 Reasons You Need an Insurance Agent

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015

Businessman Holding Umbrella Over Paper Cutout People

As an insurance agent with NCHEALTHPLANS.COM/JERRY BALLARD & ASSOCIATES, which has been in business and serving North Carolina residents since 1974, I hear many questions.  Most recently, people have asked one in particular:  “why do I need an insurance agent?”

Here are 5 important reasons you need an insurance agent: (more…)

Why is My Health Insurance So Expensive?

Friday, August 14th, 2015

Young woman getting stressed over finances in kitchen

The federal government recently reported that significant payments were made to health insurance companies as a result of the Affordable Care Act, which may lead consumers to believe that insurers are making more money than ever… and at your expense.  With the rise in insurance premiums in 2015 and the expected rise in premiums again in 2016, it’s a reasonable assumption.  For Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, however, the opposite is true.  (more…)

History of the Affordable Care Act

Monday, June 29th, 2015

Affordable Care Act SignIt has now been 5 years since President Barack Obama signed into law what is officially called The Affordable Care Act (ACA), but often referred to as Obamacare.  All of us have heard of it and most of us have felt its effects in one way or another, but because of the complexity of the law, many Americans still have questions.  (more…)

Mobile Application – Get BCBSNC from your I-Phone

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015

Smiling young college girl texting on a cell phoneGetting a Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC health insurance quote has never been easier, or more mobile!  In fact, if you have an I-phone, you can get your quote, fill out an application and enroll your BCBSNC health plan in a matter of minutes.  At Jerry Ballard and Associates, we understand you are on-the-go and may not have time to sit down at your home computer.  You want the ease and convenience of handling personal business from your mobile device.  Perhaps you are like many of our clients who travel for much of the work week and who appreciate being able to generate a quote or fill out an application without excess hassle or frustration.  Now you can!

To access our Mobile Application, simply Google us at  From there, you can generate your health quote, view the Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC plans available to you, estimate your subsidy eligibility, start and complete your application and enroll your new coverage.  For short term health insurance, you can view temporary health plans and generate a personalized quote.  Or, if you are looking for Dental coverage or a Medicare Supplement, you can get a quote for that as well.  In fact, you can complete an application for health or dental insurance in a few short minutes.  The bottom line is that getting health insurance has never been simpler.

Accessibility is one of the nicest parts of living in a high-tech world and Jerry Ballard and Associates offers you just that.  Despite all of the new information and additional steps the Affordable Care Act may have added to the process of purchasing health insurance, it is our desire to make your experience as easy and satisfying as possible.  Customer service is our number one concern and although we may not be able to eliminate all of the red tape, we can offer you access to all the information you will need to make an informed decision right at your fingertips.  Check out our Mobile App and see just how easy it can be to enroll your Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC health plan.

For more information on Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina health insurance coverage, the Marketplace and healthcare gov  to apply for your subsidy, please visit our website at 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.

Bypass the Marketplace – Unsubsidized BCBSNC health plans

Friday, January 23rd, 2015

shortcut short route cut distance fast easy way bypassWith all the talk surrounding the Affordable Care Act and government subsidies, it’s easy to think that a subsidized health plan through the federal Marketplace is the only kind available to you; however, that is not the case.  ACA approved unsubsidized health plans are still available to all consumers and there is no need to visit the Marketplace to apply.  In fact, every Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina health plan is ACA compliant, meaning they cover the 10 essential benefits required under the Affordable Care Act and you are able to purchase the plans either with or without a federal subsidy.  Federal subsidies are based entirely on income, and though many Americans do qualify for a tax credit to offset the costs of their monthly health insurance premiums, many other Americans do not.  Initially this may seem like bad news, but it is not entirely without benefit.

If you currently do not qualify for a federal tax credit based on your income, although your monthly premiums may be higher, the application process itself will be much simpler.  In fact, you can get an unsubsidized ACA approved BCBSNC health plan in only a few short minutes.  With the exception of tobacco use, you will not have to answer any questions about your health and no income or tax information will be required.  Furthermore, your health coverage will in no way impact your federal income tax, other than the fact that maintaining a health insurance policy will save you from incurring a tax penalty.  Fluctuations in income will not need to be reported to the federal government because your health insurance premium is not being subsidized.

Another important fact to remember is that being eligible for a subsidy and being eligible for coverage are two different things.  Just because you may not qualify for a subsidy does not mean you are ineligible for insurance.  For example, your child might qualify for Medicaid and thus be unable to receive a federal subsidy; however, you can still purchase an ACA approved unsubsidized BCBSNC health plan for that child.

The main thing to keep in mind is that insurance plans and federal subsidies are two separate things and sometimes bypassing the Marketplace altogether is the smarter choice depending on your circumstance.  Either way, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina can offer you coverage unlike any other.  With the largest and most extensive network in North Carolina, BCBSNC is the best choice for you and your family – either on or off the Marketplace.

For more information on Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina health insurance coverage, the Marketplace and healthcare gov  to apply for your subsidy, please visit our website at 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.


Don’t Worry, There’s Still Time – Open Enrollment 2015

Monday, January 5th, 2015

bigstock-Time-runs-fast--20810276Now that the holidays are over and the New Year has begun, you may find yourself wondering if you missed your chance to acquire health coverage for 2015.  Good news!  There is still plenty of time to apply.  Although December 15th was the application deadline for coverage beginning January 1st, Open Enrollment is still ongoing and will be until mid-February.

If you are applying for a government subsidy through the healthcare Marketplace, you can still get coverage beginning February 1st as long as you complete your application by the 15th of January.  Also, if you are NOT applying for a federal subsidy, you can be in a Blue Cross Blue Shield individual health plan as early as January 15th, provided you complete your application by midnight January 8th.

Don’t forget:  Under the Affordable Care Act, you are required to carry health insurance or incur a tax penalty and the penalty is increasing.  For 2015, the penalty is 2% of your yearly household income or $325 per person and $162.50 for each child.  In order to avoid paying a tax penalty, the federal government has mandated you cannot go more than a three month period without health insurance and that’s where Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina can help.  Not only will a BCBSNC health plan save you from incurring this tax penalty in 2015, it will also give you the peace of mind that comes from knowing you and your family are covered in times of sickness and health.

Whether you are applying for a federal subsidy or not, Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC has a health plan that will fit not only your family’s health care needs, but also your budget.  Don’t miss your opportunity to apply.  The New Year has begun, but there is still time to complete an application for health insurance before Open Enrollment 2015 comes to a close.

For more information on Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina health insurance coverage, the Marketplace and healthcare gov  to apply for your subsidy, please visit our website at 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.

BCBSNC Offers In-Home Health Assessments for ACA Members

Sunday, January 4th, 2015

bigstockphoto_happy_senior_couple_lying_down_4902020Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina announced that it will begin providing many of its ACA (Affordable Care Act) members the opportunity to receive an in-home visit offering a comprehensive medical exam.  During this at-home visit, members can review medications and discuss health care conditions and concerns with a licensed medical professional.  BCBSNC is offering this program in an effort to better assess the health conditions of its members and to help encourage members to practice preventive health care maintenance.

Because Blue Cross Blue Shield NC recognizes that many of its members are new to the health care system, they are making strides to try and engage new ACA enrollees in a health maintenance program.  These visits not only offer members a chance to discuss their health history with a professional from the comfort of their own home, the home assessment also helps identify any urgent health care problems.  During the visit, members can ask questions and get advice on issues they may need to discuss further with their primary care doctor.  Once the at-home visit has taken place, the health professional will share the results from the assessment with the member’s primary care doctor to ensure that the PCP has knowledge of the member’s overall health status and to help manage any health concerns.

BCBSNC sent letters to many ACA members and has also made phone calls offering these in-home health assessments.  Members may have been contacted for various reasons, including being high-risk, having no prior history with a Primary Care Physician or having a medical condition that would benefit from such an assessment.  These home assessments come at no charge to members and are performed by certified registered nurse practitioners, physicians and physician’s assistants.  Although not required, Blue Cross Blue Shield NC encourages its members to take advantage of the at-home assessment.

Typically, the at-home visit take about an hour and there is no lab work or blood work done during the assessment.  At the conclusion of the visit, the health provider will provide the member with information based on the outcome of the assessment and will discuss the importance of maintaining a relationship with a health care professional.  Members are being encouraged to follow-up with their PCP to discuss the outcomes of the assessment.

BCBSNC is committed to the health and well-being of its members.  Offering in-home health assessments is just one more way Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina is striving to insure the health of North Carolina residents.  For more information on Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina 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.