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.