In a win for North Carolina residents, the NC Department of Insurance has approved a 4% average rate decrease for individual customers and families enrolled in Affordable Care Act (ACA) plans in 2024. This decrease will lower total premiums by an estimated $130 million, making quality healthcare more accessible for many North Carolinians.
Health Plans of NC by Kelly Quinn
In a win for North Carolina residents, the NC Department of Insurance has approved a 4% average rate decrease for individual customers and families enrolled in Affordable Care Act (ACA) plans in 2024.
This decrease will lower total premiums by an estimated $130 million, making quality healthcare more accessible for many North Carolinians.
Let's look at what else the announcement means for the people of North Carolina. If you've got any questions about what it could mean for you, the experienced team at Health Plans of NCis here to help. We’re a Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina non-exclusive agency. Each of our agents has extensive knowledge about the various Blue Cross NC plans available.
In the past 12 months, we've seen rising healthcare costs throughout the U.S. This is coupled with high inflation levels, resulting in increased cost of living for many Americans.
But despite these challenges, President and CEO Dr. Tunde Sotunde said that rates for individual ACA health plans with Blue Cross NC are already 5% lower than in 2018. He says the team is committed to directly bringing savings to members, prioritizing accessibility and affordability.
Blue Cross NC is the only not-for-profit insurer covering all 100 counties in North Carolina.
Various external factors influence Blue Cross NC's rate adjustments, including collective medical and pharmacy claims, location, age, and plan type. But the insurer is also using innovative approaches to look at ways to lower healthcare costs.
For example, the Blue Premier program has focused on improving patient care rather than the number of procedures performed. Since 2019, this approach has helped Blue Cross NC to reduce costs by $650 million.
The company has also worked hard to negotiate lower costs with drug manufacturers. Ensuring their plans cover the most effective drugs at minimal expense for members. Over the past year, there's been a 9.4% increase in pharmaceutical costs throughout the U.S.
In contrast, Blue Cross NC has limited its overall pharmacy trend for its individual ACA market to 2.9% this year.
Over the next 12 months, Blue Cross NC will continue providing members with comprehensive healthcare options. For example, Blue Advantage, its broad network preferred provider plan, is available in every county of North Carolina.
The insurer is also working with local health systems to introduce plans featuring smaller networks of high-quality providers to offer more cost-effective alternatives to PPO plans.
For example, Blue LocalSM and Blue HomeSM plans will be available for people living in regions like the Triad, Triangle, and Charlotte. These plans offer monthly rates of approximately $100 to $200 lower than similar PPO plans.
In areas like Wilmington, Hickory, and Gastonia, Blue ValueSM plans will be available. The rates for these plans are around $70 to $90 cheaper early month than similar PPO plans.
The federal American Rescue Plan Act expanded subsidies to help more people. They aim to ensure people's premiums don't exceed 8.5% of their household incomes.
The subsidies were extended in 2022 for another three years through the Federal Inflation Reduction Act and help make quality healthcare more accessible for many North Carolinians.
Around 85% of Blue Cross NC's existing customers with individual ACA plans qualify for these subsidies for their 2024 plans.
Blue Cross NC has stated they'll continue on their mission to enhance healthcare accessibility for everyone, including offering renewals on transitional plans for 2024 for individuals and small groups. Transitional plans refer to any plans purchased between March 2010 (when the Affordable Care Act was signed) and October 2013, when regulations began.
Blue Cross NC is also investing in mental health initiatives, partnering with organizations like Headway to address a shortage of mental health professionals in North Carolina and reflecting their ongoing commitment to the overall well-being of the people of North Carolina.
For personalized assistance and to explore the many affordable Blue Cross NC plans available, our experienced agents are here to help. Get in touch with Health Plans of NC today. Our local and committed team can guide you through your options to ensure you get the best healthcare insurance solution for your needs.