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Posts Tagged ‘Open Enrollment’

6 Topics to Consider Outside Open Enrollment

Friday, March 16th, 2018

Whether you are enrolled in Medicare, Health Insurance, or are uninsured, there are some concepts, rules and requirements to consider outside the Annual Enrollment Periods.  Here is a list of a few basics to consider about insurance despite currently being outside the heavily publicized Open Enrollment Periods.

  1. 1095 Tax Forms– As most are filing taxes this time of year, don’t forget the IRS may require you to show proof of health insurance. The 1095 tax forms serve as proof of health insurance coverage.  These 1095 forms can be provided by the Health Insurance Marketplace or by a private insurance carrier, depending on how you are enrolled.  We recommend consulting a Certified Public Accountant for more information on about the need for these forms.
  2. Short Term Health Insurance– If you are currently uninsured and have not recently experienced a Qualifying Event that would allow you to enroll in a qualified health insurance plan, a short term health plan may be an option. Short term plans do not comply with the Affordable Care Act regulations which allows shoppers to enroll in these plan outside the Open Enrollment Period.  You could qualify for coverage to begin as early as the next day.
  3. Medicare Supplements “Blue to Blue”– If you are an existing Blue Cross of NC Medicare Supplement member, you are currently able to make a change to your Medicare Supplement plan during the month of May to take effect on June 1st. See rates for alternative Medicare Supplement plans here.  The capability to change plans during this time frame is through the Blue to Blue program.
  4. Dental Insurance– Don’t forget your smile! Dental insurance plans can be enrolled in anytime throughout the course of the year.  These plans are not regulated like health insurance plans by separate enrollment periods.  Learn More about BCBSNC Dental Insurance
  5. Qualifying Life Events– If you have experienced a Qualifying Life Event, this could allow you to make a change to your health plan or enroll in a new plan. Get a Blue Cross Quote to see whether any of the Qualifying Events apply to you.
  6. Report Income Changes to the Marketplace– If you are enrolled in a health insurance plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace and you have experienced an income change, it’s important to report this change to the Marketplace. Income changes can impact health insurance plan rates and coverage.

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.

Final Weeks of Open Enrollment 2017 – BCBSNC Plans Available

Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

Last Chance And Last Minute With Clock Signs, Blue And Red DrawnWe are now in the final weeks of Open Enrollment 2017 and if you still have not enrolled your Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina health plan, now is the time to get covered!  Keep in mind, however, that you must submit an application by January 31st to have coverage beginning March 1st.  If you miss the deadline, you may not be able to enroll in health insurance until the next Open Enrollment.

Under the law of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), you are required to maintain qualified health insurance or possibly incur a tax penalty.  This is known as the individual mandate.  For 2017, the tax penalty is $695 per person or 2.5% of your income, whichever is higher.  In addition, if you do not have health insurance, you will be responsible for the costs of all health care you use over the course of the year.

Blue Cross Blue Shield NC offers qualified health plans in all 100 counties in North Carolina and plans are available both on and off the Marketplace.  Based on your income and the number of people in your household, you may qualify for a premium tax credit (federal subsidy) to help reduce the cost of your plan.  In addition, you could qualify for reduced copayments and deductibles.  For people under the age of 30, Catastrophic plans are available and these plans typically have a lower monthly premium.

At NC Health plans, we are committed to helping our customers choose and enroll the BCBSNC health plan that best suits your needs at a price that fits your budget.  We can help you determine subsidy eligibility, discuss plan options and walk you through the enrollment process.  We can help you submit your application online or directly over the phone in a few short minutes.

Don’t let 2017 come and go without securing the health coverage you need. 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.

Open Enrollment is Not Over! – Enroll your BCBSNC Health Insurance Today

Wednesday, December 21st, 2016

bigstock-160858379Open Enrollment is not over, so if you missed the December 15th deadline, you can still enroll your Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina health plan.  BCBSNC has Qualified Health Plans available in all 100 counties of North Carolina and there is still plenty of time to enroll.  At NC Health Plans we are committed to making the enrollment process as easy as possible.  If you are not eligible for a federal subsidy, you can enroll your plan off the Marketplace in a short, simple, 10 minute application.  Or, if you would like to apply for a federal subsidy and enroll your plan through the Marketplace, we can help you do that application over the phone in a matter of minutes.  In fact, generating a quote, determining subsidy eligibility and submitting your Marketplace application has never been simpler!

Keep in mind, Open Enrollment will officially end on January 31st, 2017 and if you want your new health plan to begin February 1st, you must complete your application by January 15th.  Also, remember under the law of the Affordable Care Act, you are required to carry health insurance and if you do not enroll in a Qualified Health Plan by the end of Open Enrollment, you will likely not be able to do so until next year.  You will possibly also face a federal tax penalty.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina is a name you can trust when it comes to your health insurance needs.  Offering health plans to North Carolina residents for over 80 years, BCBSNC has remained steadfast in a rapidly changing health insurance market.  Don’t let another year go by without obtaining a Qualified Health Insurance plan.  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.

Last Week to Enroll your NC Health Insurance Plan for Jan. 2017!

Wednesday, December 7th, 2016

Deadline Concept ClockThe Annual Open Enrollment period for NC Health Insurance is in full swing, but keep in mind if you want your new 2017 health insurance plan to be effective January 1st, you must submit your application by midnight, December 15th!  That means you have one more week to apply in order to secure coverage that begins January 1st.  Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina is offering Affordable Care Act plans both on and off the federal Marketplace in all 100 counties of North Carolina and the application process has never been easier.

You can get a quote, apply for a federal subsidy and enroll a 2017 BCBNSC health insurance plan in a matter of minutes by visiting our website at www.nchealthplans.com or by calling 888-765-5400.  You can do your application online or over the phone with one of our authorized representatives and have the peace of mind that comes from knowing you and your family are covered.

Don’t miss this important deadline!  Apply and enroll your 2017 coverage by midnight, December 15th.  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.

BCBSNC Prepares for Open Enrollment 2017

Tuesday, October 25th, 2016

Glowing 3D Lettering 2017 On Blue BackgroundBlue 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.

Blue Cross Blue Shield NC Receives Approval for 2017 Rate Increase

Thursday, October 20th, 2016

bigstock-125404142One of the biggest questions on many minds as Open Enrollment 2017 approaches is “will my health insurance premium rate increase?”  Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina announced last week that the Department of Insurance (DOI) has approved a rate increase of 24.3% for 2017; however, this rate increase will be felt differently among BCBSNC customers.  In May of 2017, Blue Cross Blue Shield NC filed for an average increase of almost 19% for ACA (Affordable Care Act) individual health plans.  When Aetna announced early this fall that they would be exiting the NC marketplace, however, BCBSNC revised that rate filing in an attempt to adjust for the new market.

In a blog article released by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina on October 14, 2016 Brian Tajili, Director of Actuarial and Pricing Services for BCBSNC, explained that this rate increase will allow the company to “serve our ACA customers in a financially responsible way in 2017.”  He went on to say that Blue Cross Blue Shield NC understands that “these kinds of rate increases aren’t sustainable over the long term,” and reiterated the fact that the company has been consistent in their message that in order for the ACA (Obamacare) to work properly, younger, healthier customers need to enter the market to balance the higher health costs of the current membership.

Of further note, although there will be a rate increase for 2017, it will not be felt equally among all BCBSNC customers.  Blue Cross Blue Shield NC believes that many customers will actually see a decrease in their rates due to an increase in federal subsidies.  Keep in mind, however, that although the subsidies decrease the out-of-pocket costs for customers, they do not decrease the out-of-pocket costs for the company and the ACA market has consistently proven to be an unhealthier market.  The overall rate increase is an attempt to ensure that the company can remain sustainable and that BCBSNC can continue to offer health insurance plans in all 100 counties in NC.

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.

 

 

 

What is Open Enrollment and Why is it Important?

Thursday, October 6th, 2016

Store Owner Turning Open Sign In Shop DoorwayOpen Enrollment is the yearly period when people in the United States can enroll in individual or family health insurance plans. 2016 Open Enrollment ended January 31, 2016 and Open Enrollment for 2017 begins November 1, 2016 and will last until January 31, 2017.  This is a very important time period because if you miss Open Enrollment, you may not be able to enroll in a health insurance plan unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.  To qualify for a Special Enrollment Period you must have a Qualifying Life Event, some of which include losing employer-sponsored coverage, having a baby, or getting married.

Since Open Enrollment 2017 is just around the corner, now is the time to begin considering your NC health insurance options. 2016 has brought significant changes to the insurance marketplace.  Both United Healthcare and Aetna announced this year that they will be pulling out of North Carolina for 2017.  This means that Blue Cross Blue Shield NC may very well be the only company offering health plans in all 100 counties in North Carolina.  Cigna has filed for plans in a few select counties throughout the state as well.

The Open Enrollment Period offers residents of NC the opportunity to enroll in health insurance or make changes to their current policy.  New rates for 2017 health plans will be available by November 1st and at that time, you will be able to submit an application for coverage.  Keep in mind that plans will not be effective until January, 2017 so if you are currently uninsured, you may want to consider temporary coverage until the end of December, 2016.

Under the Affordable Care Act, federal subsidies will also be available for 2017 health plans for NC residents who qualify and will be based on the Federal Poverty Level Chart.  NC Residents who fall between the 100% and 400% federal poverty level and who do not have employer coverage available to them can apply for a subsidy to help reduce the cost of their health insurance.

Open Enrollment is an important time of year to obtain the health coverage you need for you and your family for 2017. 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.

 

Open Enrollment 2017 Just Around the Corner – BCBSNC Prepares

Thursday, July 21st, 2016

Portrait of Happy Family In GardenSummer is flying by and it won’t be long until Open Enrollment begins for 2017.  In fact, now is the time to start thinking about your health insurance needs for the coming year and getting prepared.  For many North Carolinians, 2016 saw an increase in insurance premiums as well as changes in long-standing networks.  Enrollment issues with the federal Marketplace and customer service issues across the board left many BCBSNC members feeling weary and frustrated.  As insurance agents, we understand those frustrations.  Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC has worked tirelessly over the last few months to update information, improve communication, and meet the challenges presented by the ACA market.  On June 9th, BCBSNC President and CEO Brad Wilson told the News and Observer, “While some critics of the law are saying ‘I told you so,’ I believe we need to take a more constructive tone toward making sure the ACA is in fact sustainable for the long haul” (Read full article).

And that is just what Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina is doing. (more…)

No Qualifying Life Event? – Try Temporary Health Coverage

Friday, April 1st, 2016

Health InsuranceUnder the ACA, you are now required to have a Qualifying Life Event (QLE) in order to enroll in a health insurance plan outside of Open Enrollment.  A Qualifying Life Event is some kind of special circumstance that allows you to enroll in coverage under a Special Enrollment Period and some common QLE’s include loss of access to minimum essential coverage through an employer or Medicaid, a move to North Carolina or to a different zip code within NC, or adding a dependent through birth or adoption.

If you do not have one of the life events, however, you will be unable to enroll in health coverage until the next Open Enrollment, which begins November 1, 2016 with coverage starting January 1, 2017.  Unfortunately, this rule excludes many individuals and can make it difficult, if not impossible, to get a health insurance plan.  If you find yourself in this position you may be asking:  What can I do to get health insurance? (more…)

LAST WEEK OF OPEN ENROLLMENT 2016 – Enroll in BCBSNC Insurance Quickly

Monday, January 25th, 2016

The final week of Open Enrollment has begun and with it, your final chance to enroll in Blue Cross Blue Last Chance And Last Minute With Clock Signs, Blue And Red DrawnShield of North Carolina health insurance without experiencing a Qualifying Life Event.  If you are still uninsured, here are some very important things to keep in mind:

  1. Under the Affordable Care Act, you are required by law to have health insurance.  If you do not have obtain health insurance for 2016, you will receive a tax penalty when you file your 2016 taxes, unless you have an exemption.  Tax penalties for 2016 have increased substantially.
  2. In addition to receiving a tax penalty, if you are uninsured in 2016, you will be responsible for all of your routine and unexpected health care needs, which can quickly amount to thousands upon thousands of out-of-pocket expenses.
  3. Applying for health insurance doesn’t have to be difficult.  We can help you choose a plan, discuss benefits and walk you through the enrollment process.  You can apply easily and quickly online or over the phone with one of our experienced agents.  Visit our website or call 888-765-5400.
  4. Any coverage is better than zero coverage.  Even the least expensive plan available to you will provide you with coverage, including preventive care covered at 100%, and set a limit on your out-of-pocket expenses should you experience and illness or accident.  The least expensive Qualified Health Plan will also keep you from being penalized come tax time.
  5. Don’t wait until the last minute!  The closer we get to the application deadline of January 31st, the more time-consuming and frustrating this process will become.  Deadlines often create technical issues and long wait times and can even keep you from submitting your application on time.
  6. If you miss the January 31st deadline, you may not be able to enroll in health insurance until the next Open Enrollment, which will likely begin in November 2016.

For more information on Blue Cross Blue Shield of 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.

Is Your Doctor in Network – Does it Matter?

Thursday, January 21st, 2016

bigstockphoto_thinking_woman_304081Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, unlike many of the companies offering coverage through the health insurance Marketplace, provides plans that cover you both in-network as well as out-of-network.  Having out-of-network coverage when it counts can make an enormous difference in your out-of-pocket expenses.  It’s important, however, to find out ahead of time whenever possible whether or not your provider is in network with your plan.  Because you will pay more for out-of-network coverage, knowing which doctors and hospitals accept your plan is one of the best ways you can manage your health care costs. (more…)

Only 15 days left! – NC Health Insurance for 2016

Saturday, January 16th, 2016

Closing Soon ClockIf you are like me, it probably seems like 2015 came and went in a flash!  Between the holidays and a new year, you may find yourself still not enrolled in health insurance.  If you missed the December 15th deadline for January 1st coverage and you also missed the January 15th deadline for February 1st coverage, you have yet another opportunity to enroll in health insurance for 2016! Open Enrollment will not officially end until January 31st and for the next 15 days, you can still submit an application and have coverage that will begin March 1st.  If you miss this deadline, however, you may be unable to enroll in a 2016 health insurance plan, which means not only will you be uninsured, you will likely incur a tax penalty.

Keep in mind that the 2016 tax penalty has increased to $695 per person or 2.5% of your annual individual income, whichever is greater.

The good news is you can still submit an application online in as little as ten minutes and if you are applying through the federal Marketplace, we are happy to assist you in submitting your application over the phone.  Give us a call at 888-765-5400.  We can assist you in choosing the plan that best suits your family’s needs and help you determine whether or not you qualify for a federal subsidy to help reduce the cost of your health plan.  Don’t let another year go by without obtaining health insurance for you and your family!

For more information on Blue Cross Blue Shield of 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.