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Posts Tagged ‘Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC’

2019 Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC Rates and Changes

Friday, August 3rd, 2018

Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina announced on July 31st the company has filed for an average rate decrease of 4.1% on Affordable Care Act individual health plans for 2019.  This will mark the first year North Carolina’s largest health insurance company has filed for a rate decrease on individual plans after several years of double digit increases since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in 2014.

“We’re moving in the right direction, but even with a lower rate, premiums are still too high — particularly for those who don’t get a subsidy,” said Dr. Patrick Conway, Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC’s President and CEO.  “With more certainty from Washington, rates would be 15 percent or more lower. We must address both market instability and the rising price of health care.”

A number of factors contributed to this rate filing.  Brian Tajlili is BCBSNC’s Director of Actuarial and Pricing Services.  He references: the cost of providing medical services and prescription drugs for members, new provider arrangements that will reduce costs, the suspension of the federal Health Insurer Tax, and the elimination of the individual mandate penalty; as a few of these contributing factors.

Although the overall average rate will decrease on plans across the state of North Carolina, some counties will still see rate increases.  The counties that do see a rate increase will not incur increases over 10%.  Blue Cross will not release the exact rates for plans until closer to the start of Open Enrollment on November 1st.

Other Changes to Blue Plans

Another of the most significant Blue Cross NC plans will take place in the Triangle and surrounding regions.  The Blue Local with Duke Health and Wake Med will be discontinued in 2019.  This plan currently covers approximately 50,000 members in 12 counties.  These members will be receiving notices in the coming months to help prepare for the transition to new plans.  Alternatives to the Blue Local with Duke and Wake Med will depend on which county the member resides in.

Transitional Plans will continue to be offered in 2019.  Transitional plans are plans purchased between March 2010 and October 2013.  These plans do not meet the ACA requirements and are only offered to existing customers.

More details on these changes and others will likely continue in the months ahead.  Blue Cross Blue Shield NC has filed for plans in all 100 counties of North Carolina for 2019 and continues to be the only insurer in North Carolina that offers Individual ACA health plans in all counties.

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.

Get Your Paddle On! – Health Benefits of Stand Up Paddle

Monday, July 27th, 2015

Recently, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina posted an article called From the Mountains to the Sea:  NC Weekend Escapes, which is definitely worth the read if you are looking for a good vacation idea.  The article hit home with me because I just happen to have enjoyed two recent North Carolina excursions, one to the mountains of Blowing Rock and one to the ocean off Ocracoke.  (more…)

NC Health Plans wishes you a Happy 4th of July – Great Recipes

Friday, July 3rd, 2015

American DogHappy 4th of July from NC Health Plans!  I wanted to find the very best recipe to share in celebration of our Independence Day, but the truth is I couldn’t decide on one.  I was thinking about everything from cupcakes to BBQ to macaroni salad.  I guess the 4th of July just makes me think about food – and all kinds of it!  (more…)

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY – Practice Fireworks Safety

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015

Boys Holding SparklersNC Health Plans wishes you a Happy Independence Day!  Believe it or not, the 4th of July is just around the corner and one of the most enjoyable and exciting ways to celebrate our nation’s independence is to set off some fireworks.  As a child, I remember sitting on the hood of my mom’s car in the parking lot of Arlington Stadium (now The Ballpark at Arlington), watching a brilliant fireworks display following a Texas Ranger’s baseball game.  (more…)

BCBSNC – the Core of Preventive Care

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

Sit ups - fitness couple exercising sit up outside in grass in sThere’s been a lot of talk lately about “core strength, but what exactly does that mean?  Contrary to popular belief, there is more to core training than simply trying to get a six pack of abs, though a nice toned tummy might be one of the benefits.  Still, core strength isn’t just a buzz word in the exercise world.  Its’ one of the most important things you can do to keep your body strong and healthy, and a strong, healthy body is something Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina wants all its members to maintain.

Your “core” is actually made up of three groups of muscles:  the upper abs, the obliques (your side muscles), and a very deep layer of muscle.  It’s really those deep muscles that help the most because those are the ones that support the spine and hold your tummy muscles tight, making your stomach look flatter.  Core training not only helps you look thinner, but it helps promote balance and overall body strength.

In fact, the big difference between “core” training and traditional sit ups is that core training doesn’t just target the front side of your body, but your back side as well.  An exercise that trains your core will work more than one muscle group and produce much faster results.  Although looking great in a swimsuit is nice, it’s not the most important part of core training, especially as we age.  The real benefit is that the spine is strengthened to support the weight of our bodies and keep us from having chronic back pain.

One nice part of core training is that there are many different ways to help increase core strength.  More traditional exercises such as sit ups and crunches are crucial for developing surface muscles that will help as you continue to strengthen the deeper layer of muscle tissue.  Yoga and Pilates are also excellent ways to develop core strength.  Water sports such as paddle boarding and surfing are also great ways to build a strong, solid core.  Basically, any kind of exercise you do can strengthen your core if you introduce some element of instability.  What that means is that you make the exercise tougher by creating an unstable surface of some sort.  Instability then forces your body to work to create stability, which ultimately results in strong core muscles.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina is a strong advocate for preventive care and one of the best things you can do to prevent health problems tomorrow is to invest in your physical well-being today.  Make core training a part of your preventive care program.  A healthy diet, adequate rest and a good exercise regimen can do wonders for your both your body and mind.

As always, before starting any exercise regimen, consult your doctor first and get his/her clearance for physical activity.  Find out if there are any issues that would affect you participating in a new nutrition and fitness program.  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 www.nchealthplans.com 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.

 

 

Smile for Summer – Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC Dental Coverage

Thursday, June 4th, 2015

young happy family

“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”  – Thich Nhat Hanh

There’s almost nothing sweeter than a beautiful smile, but almost nothing worse than teeth or gums that are causing you pain or discomfort.  That is where Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC and Dental Blue can help.  Having a dental plan that provides for routine oral exams, teeth cleanings, fluoride treatments, and X-rays is an important part of oral maintenance and preventive care.  With a large network of dental providers, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina is a trusted name when it comes to both health and dental insurance.

Although without a Qualifying Life Event you may not be able to obtain health insurance outside of Open Enrollment, under the laws of the ACA you can get dental coverage.  Because dental insurance is not subject to the guidelines of Special Enrollment and Qualifying Life Events, you can enroll in a Dental Blue plan at any time during the year.

Dental Blue for Individuals allows you to visit any licensed dentist you choose within the network, provides for two annual cleanings at no additional cost, has no waiting period for preventive care and includes coverage for fillings, gum treatments, extractions, crowns, bridges and more.  With preventive services covered at 100%, there is no reason to let your smile slide.

Although routine oral care may not seem imperative to your health, medical experts have linked periodontal (gum) disease to stroke, heart disease, diabetes, pre-term or low-birth weight babies and other health issues.  Furthermore, nearly 75 percent of American adults have some form of periodontal disease.  With proper daily dental care, however, having regular dental checkups can help detect, prevent and treat gum disease and related disorders.

This summer, give yourself something to smile about!  Get Dental Blue for individuals and make oral health a part of your regular preventive care maintenance.

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 www.nchealthplans.com 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.

 

 

Only 10 Days Left – Open Enrollment Ends February 15th

Thursday, February 5th, 2015

Closing Soon ClockWith the holidays behind us and tax season looming, you may not realize that Open Enrollment is rapidly coming to a close, but it most certainly is.  In fact, there are only 10 days left to finish your application for a Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina health plan and the application must be completed by midnight, February 15th.  If you do not complete an application by the official end of Open Enrollment, you will not be able to purchase health insurance unless you have a Qualifying Life Event until Open Enrollment once again commences later this year.

If you are one of the many Americans trying to obtain a health plan for 2015 before the deadline, there are a few things to keep in mind.  First of all, under the guidelines of the Affordable Care Act you are now required by law to carry health insurance or incur a tax penalty.  The tax penalty is increasing in 2015: a minimum of $325 per year per person or up to 2% of annual individual income (whichever is greater).  To avoid paying this tax penalty, you cannot go uninsured for more than three months in the calendar year.

Also, if you are applying for a federal subsidy to help reduce the cost of your health insurance premium, you must complete a subsidy application before choosing your health plan.  As February 15th approaches, both the Marketplace website and phone lines will be busier and busier.   The sooner you complete your application, the easier it will be.  Keep in mind that not all plans offered through the federal Marketplace are equal.  A Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina subsidized health plan offers the broadest network of providers in the state of North Carolina and because it is not an HMO, you will still have coverage even if you happen to go out of network.

If you complete your application for a subsidized health plan by February 15th, your coverage will begin March 1st and that is the soonest effective date available to you at this point.  However, if you are applying for an unsubsidized health plan, you can still receive an effective date of February 15th if you complete your application by midnight, February 8th.  Either way, all applications for health insurance must be completed by the end of Open Enrollment or be subject to the rules of Special Enrollment involving Qualifying Life Events.

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 www.nchealthplans.com 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.

 

 

A REASON TO STOP – HEALTH EFFECTS OF TOBACCO

Friday, January 30th, 2015

Young Caucasian Woman Quiting SmokingThe health effects of smoking are the circumstances, mechanisms, and factors of tobacco consumption on human health. Epidemiological research has been focused primarily on cigarette tobacco smoking, which has been studied more extensively than any other form of consumption, but all forms of tobacco use are dangerous.  Research has proven overwhelmingly that the regular use of tobacco can damage every part of the body.

Tobacco is the single greatest cause of preventable death globally. Tobacco use leads most commonly to diseases affecting the heart, liver and lungs, with smoking being a major risk factor for heart attacks, strokes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) (including emphysema and chronic bronchitis), and cancer (particularly lung cancer, cancers of the larynx and mouth, and pancreatic cancer). It also causes peripheral vascular disease and hypertension. The effects depend on the number of years that a person smokes and on how frequently the person smokes. Starting to smoke earlier in life and smoking cigarettes higher in tar increases the risk of these diseases. Cigarettes sold in underdeveloped countries tend to have higher tar content, and are less likely to be filtered, potentially increasing vulnerability to tobacco-related disease in these regions.

Also, environmental tobacco smoke, or secondhand smoke, has been shown to cause adverse health effects in people of all ages.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that tobacco caused 5.4 million deaths in 2004 and 100 million deaths over the course of the 20th century. Similarly, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes tobacco use as “the single most important preventable risk to human health in developed countries and an important cause of premature death worldwide.”

Quitting smoking may be difficult, especially for those individuals who have developed the habit of regular tobacco use.  Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina wants to encourage you to make the change.  A healthy lifestyle is the number one form of preventive care and one of the best things you can do for your body.

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 www.nchealthplans.com 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.

HEALTHY LIFESTYLE TIPS – DRINK MORE WATER

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

Water splashingDo you drink at least 8 glasses of water a day?  If not, you should!  Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina endorses healthy living and one of the healthiest things you can do for your body is to keep it hydrated.

Drink more water. Most of us actually don’t drink enough water every day. Water is essential for our body to function.  Do you know that over 60% of our body is made up of water? Water is needed to carry out our bodily functions, remove waste and carry nutrients and oxygen around our body. Since we lose water every day through urine, bowel movements, perspiration and breathing, we need to replenish our water intake.

Bring a water bottle when you go out. That way, you can replenish your fluids whenever you want to. It saves you money as well and you don’t need to subject yourself to poor alternatives like soda, which increases your fluid outtake instead.

Furthermore, drinking more water alone actually aids in losing weight. A study done by healthcom carried out among overweight/obese people showed that water drinkers lose 4.5 more pounds than a control group. The researchers believe it’s because drinking more water helps fill your stomach, making you less hungry and less likely to overeat. I agree with that, and I have an added take that your body tries to retain whatever water it gets when you don’t take in enough water, leading to an increase in weight. On the other hand, when you regularly drink water, your body knows it’s going to get the supply of fluids it needs, so it doesn’t try to retain more water.

There is no real downside to drinking more water and the benefits to your body are clear.  As always, before starting any weight loss program, consult your doctor first and get his/her clearance for physical activity.  Find out if there are any issues that would affect you participating in a new nutrition and fitness program.

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 www.nchealthplans.com 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.

 

Healthy Resolutions – Make BCBSNC a Part of 2015

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

Person Jumping Over 2015Almost every year, listed among the top 10 New Year’s resolutions are a desire to lose weight, a desire to stay fit and healthy, and a desire to quit smoking.  Not surprisingly, 2015 is no different.  Of course, as we all know there is a big difference between a desire to do something and a determination to make something happen and most of that difference hinges on the word resolve.  Webster’s Dictionary defines resolve as “a definite and serious decision to do something” and it defines the word resolution as “the act of determining or solving a conflict or problem.”  This year, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina encourages you to make some healthy resolutions and to make a BCBSNC health plan part of your healthier new year.

Perhaps your goal is to shed some extra pounds or make lifestyle changes that will help you be more fit.  Becoming a Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina member gives you immediate access to Blue Connect, a new personalized way to manage not only your health care needs, but also your fitness goals.  Blue Connect partners with every BCBSNC member in preventive care maintenance by allowing you to track your daily fitness, weight loss goals and nutrition plans as well as helping you link the fitness apps you already use as part of your daily wellness regimen.  This will help you manage your fitness or weight loss resolutions and put you on the road to a healthier 2015.  Also, don’t forget that every Blue Cross Blue Shield health plan covers preventive care at 100%, giving you the peace of mind of knowing you can stay well.

As always, before starting any weight loss or fitness program, consult your doctor first and get his/her clearance for physical activity and find out if there are any issues that would affect your participating in a new nutrition and fitness program.

If quitting smoking is your 2015 New Year’s Resolution, then Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina offers a substantial incentive toward that goal as well.  Did you know you can save 20% on your health insurance policy simply by becoming a non-smoker?  If you are currently paying a premium rate based on being a smoker, resolving to quit smoking in 2015 and sticking with it for twelve months will offer you the opportunity to appeal for a rate change based on a new non-smoker status.  Being a smoke free member of BCBSNC will not only increase your overall wellness, it can actually put money back in your wallet.

We all know resolutions are easy to make and hard to keep.  In fact, studies show that typically only 8% of New Year’s Resolutions are actually carried out, but percentages don’t write stories.  People do!  2015 is a New Year and you get to write your own story.  Becoming a Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC member could be one of the best resolutions you ever make toward a happier, healthier year.

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 www.nchealthplans.com 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.

 

 

 

 

Save Money With Blue Local

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

Blue Local with Carolinas HealthCare System

blueLocal_300pxAre you a resident of the Charlotte or Gaston area? If you live in the Charlotte or Gaston region you might be eligible to enroll in Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC’s new product, Blue Local with Carolinas HealthCare System, during the 2015 Open Enrollment. This new product will be available both on and off the NC Health Insurance Marketplace to individual health care consumers under the age of 65 in the following counties: Anson, Cabarrus, Cleveland, Gaston, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Rowan, Stanly, and Union County. If you are not a resident of one of these counties you will not be eligible to enroll in a Blue Local plan. Blue Local coverage can begin as early as January 1, 2015.

So, what are the benefits of enrolling in a Blue Local plan? Eligible health insurance consumers can potentially pay a lower premium by enrolling in this new point-of-service product with a limited, system-centric network. BCBSNC hopes this product will appeal to consumers in the Charlotte and Gaston regions who are comfortable receiving their care within the Carolinas HealthCare System and its affiliated providers. Members of Blue Local will benefit from this product by receiving high-quality, integrated health care and care coordination within the Carolina HealthCare System and its affiliated providers.

The Blue Local network will be comprised mainly of physicians and facilities that are already affiliated with the Carolinas HealthCare system. However, other in-network providers have been added to ensure accessibility to all types of providers and specialty care.  As with any plan, it is important for consumers to be aware of which hospitals and providers are in network with the Blue Local product.

For more information on Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina health insurance coverage, the Marketplace and healthcare gov if you qualify for a subsidy, 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.  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.

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Wishing You Healthy Holidays! – Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC

Monday, December 22nd, 2014

Family All Together At Christmas DinnerEating healthy around the holidays is never easy, but don’t forget that a healthy diet is one of the most important parts of preventive care, which is something Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina believes in wholeheartedly.  In combination with physical activity, having a good diet can help you maintain a healthy weight and reduce your risk of chronic diseases, like heart attack and cancer.  Furthermore, eating healthy promotes wellness and an overall feeling of well-being.  With the stress and busyness of the holidays in full swing, it’s easy to forget the importance of taking care of yourself; however, the link between good nutrition and a healthy body is too important to ignore.

Not only is a good diet important in maximizing your physical health, it is also important in maintaining mental health.  According to the American Psychological Association, stress can cause your body to seek sugar as quick fuel for a surge of energy.  For this reason, many people eat sweets when they are under an unusual amount of stress.  Instead of stress eating, a good exercise regime is a positive alternative for helping to reduce stress.  Also, look for healthy alternatives to holiday desserts high in sugar content.  Before starting any weight loss program, always consult your doctor first and get his/her clearance for physical activity and find out if there are any issues that would affect you participating in a new nutrition and fitness program.

Even during the holidays, you can maximize your  health through maintenance and prevention.   BCBSNC covers preventive care services at 100%, but you can do your part as well.  Maintaining a healthy diet is a huge part of becoming and staying healthy, even during the holidays.  Although this may not be the time to embark on a new diet plan, even small changes can go a long way.  Eating more fruits and vegetables, limiting your amount of sugar intake and staying hydrated are all simple, but effective ways to improve your daily diet.

This season, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina encourages you to make healthy eating a top priority and Jerrry Ballard and Associates wishes both you and yours happy, healthy holidays!

For more information on Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina health insurance coverage, the Marketplace and healthcare gov if you qualify for a subsidy, 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.  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.