Healthcare News & Stories

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Medicare

Should You Choose Medicare Supplement or Medicare Advantage?

While Original Medicare offers most people good basic health coverage, it only pays 80% of approved costs concerning doctors, hospitals, and medical procedures. It also typically doesn’t cover the cost of prescription drugs or dental care. As a result, many people enroll in a supplemental insurance plan to help cover the gap. 
HealthPlans of NC

Health Plans of NC, Kelly Quinn

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Medicare

How To Avoid Paying Medicare Late Enrollment Penalties

You could face late enrollment penalties for not signing up for Medicare at the right time.
HealthPlans of NC

Health Plans of NC, Kelly Quinn

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Medicare

What Is the Blue to Blue Rule?

When you choose a Blue Cross NC Medicare plan, you have the freedom to make changes to your plan without underwriting. In addition, members can switch supplement plans at designated times throughout the year. If you live in North Carolina, find out more about how our local Medicare agents can help you get the best Medicare plan for your needs.
HealthPlans of NC

Health Plans of NC staff

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Medicare

How Can Early Retirement Impact Your Health Insurance?

Early retirement, whether desired or forced, can dramatically impact your health insurance coverage. Depending on the circumstances, you may find yourself responsible for funding your own coverage. In addition, the cost of monthly premiums varies widely based on your age, location, and benefit needs. As a North Carolina resident, it’s essential to consider how these additional costs could impact your quality of life in retirement.
HealthPlans of NC

Health Plans of NC, Kelly Quinn

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Medicare

How to Get Started with Medicare if You’re Turning 65

Getting Medicare is a significant milestone. If you’re turning 65 soon, it’s a good idea to start preparing so you’ll get your coverage as soon as you are eligible for it. If you’re based in North Carolina, our local Medicare agents can help. 
HealthPlans of NC

Health Plans of NC, Kelly Quinn

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Medicare

Am I Eligible For Medicare?

If you’re a U.S. citizen or a permanent legal resident of the United States, then you may be eligible for Medicare if you meet one of the following criteria: You are 65 years old or older. You’re younger than 65, but you have a qualifying disability. You are of any age and have been diagnosed with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, also called Lou Gehrig’s Disease). To qualify as a legal resident, you need to have lived in the United States for at least five consecutive years before applying for Medicare.
HealthPlans of NC

Health Plans of NC, Kelly Quinn

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Medicare

How To Get More Benefits with Dual Medicaid-Medicare, D-SNP Plans

Support for North Carolina residents who have Medicare and Medicaid
HealthPlans of NC

Health Plans of NC, Kelly Quinn

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Medicare

Answers to The 10 Most Common Medicare Questions

Medicare decisions are highly personal and you may have many different questions about your specific situation. But certain questions do seem to come up more often than others. Here are some of the most common Medicare questions and answers that our local agents often hear from North Carolina residents.
HealthPlans of NC

Health Plans of NC, Kelly Quinn

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Medicare

What Is Medicare Advantage and How Does It Work?

Medicare Advantage plans replace Original Medicare Parts A and B. They’re offered by private companies that are Medicare-approved. If you live in North Carolina and want to find out more information about Blue Cross NC Medicare Advantage plans, our dedicated local agents can help.
HealthPlans of NC

Health Plans of NC, Kelly Quinn

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Health

How A Job Change Can Impact Your Health Insurance

Are you considering a job change or thinking about becoming self-employed? If so, it’s essential to consider the impact this change could have on your health insurance, including your coverage and costs. Here’s what you need to know about how a job change could impact your NC health insurance.
HealthPlans of NC

Health Plans of NC, Kelly Quinn

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Medicare

How Medicare Agents Get Paid

A Medicare insurance agent helps to provide clients with independent advice on various Medicare plans at no cost.
HealthPlans of NC

Health Plans of NC, Kelly Quinn

We resolve to make health care more affordable.
Health

Pulling Back The Curtain On Healthcare Costs

While the COVID-19 pandemic may have brought renewed urgency to the issue, the need for more cost transparency has long been part of the conversation about the future of health care. Beneath the partisan wrangling in Washington lies a serious issue. Not only is health care expensive, but it can be difficult for consumers to know just how much care costs until the final bill arrives.Managing medical costs starts with knowing what they are in the first place. At Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, we support the concept of cost transparency. We’re leading the way in making it a reality, not only for our members, but for all North Carolinians.
Cost transparency at your fingertips
It’s hard to believe, but the cost for many common procedures can vary by thousands – in some cases tens of thousands of dollars – within the same city. When consumers don’t have easy access to this information, they are not only in the dark about the total cost of their care, but more importantly how much it will cost them out-of-pocket. A Blue Cross NC analysis showed that some North Carolinians will spend up to 25% of their take-home pay solely on medical expenses. That can be a massive financial burden for families to bear.An early innovator in cost transparency, Blue Cross NC launched a groundbreaking cost comparison tool in 2012 that enables members to compare cost and quality for common procedures before they make important care decisions. Just as consumers can shop for cars or smart phones by doing research before making a purchase, we’re empowering patients to be better informed health care consumers. When patients see that costs for the same surgery in the same area can vary by as much as $19,000, they realize they can choose more affordable options.[1] In 2015, we went a step further and made the tool available to all North Carolinians. Everyone in North Carolina, whether they are a Blue Cross NC member or not, can quickly search for common procedures like MRIs, knee replacements or mammograms and see how the cost compares between nearby providers.
HealthPlans of NC

Blue Cross NC

Woman holding Covid-19 rapid test
Health

COVID-19 Healthcare Articles

Here is a list of articles that we’ve published regarding COVID-19 since the pandemic began to help you to synthesize how to go about protecting yourself and your family.
Post-Pandemic Healthcare Issues
How To Tell Fact From Fiction With COVID-19 Information
HealthPlans of NC

Health Plans of NC, Kelly Quinn

Doctor giving a boy a vaccine
Health

Top 10 Myths About Childhood Vaccines

According to the CDC, vaccinations have prevented over 21 million hospitalizations and 732,000 deaths among children in the last 20 years. In spite of that astounding statistic, a recent study from the University of Michigan found that 93% of pediatricians had at least one parent who refused a vaccination for their child during the past year.
The effects of this are all too well known. As recently as December of 2014, we saw an outbreak of Measles that affected over a hundred children as a result of unvaccinated children and adults. All of which could have been avoided with proper preventative care.
Unfortunately, there are many myths about vaccines that encourage or frighten parents into not vaccinating their children, and as a result, infections can easily spread among the unvaccinated. I want to take a few minutes to share some of the most commons myths about childhood vaccines and talk about the facts.
HealthPlans of NC

Dr. Larry Wu

Family Size | 150% FPL
1 | $19,320
2 | $26,130
3 | $32,940
4 | $39,750
5 | $46,560
6 | $53,370
7 | $60,180

If your income doesn't exceed 150% of the federal poverty level, under the new special enrollment period, eligible applicants can enroll in an ACA-compliant health plan through the marketplace year-round.
Individual/Family

Announcement Of Special Enrollment Period That Can Help North Carolinians

North Carolina’s low-income earners that do not exceed 150% of Federal Poverty Line can qualify for ACA health insurance for $0
It may not be not too late if you missed out on signing up for the Affordable Care Act coverage for 2022. If you do not exceed 150% of the FPL you can now enroll in plans with $0 premiums for the rest of the year. Want to learn more? Our local NC agents can help you discover if you qualify and help you access plans. Learn more about qualifying for enrollment in an NC ACA health plan with a $0 premium.
To take advantage of this special enrollment period, you need to meet two conditions. First, the special enrollment period is open to anyone with an income of less than 150% of the federal poverty level (FPL). This means less than $19,320 per year for individuals or under $39,750 per year for a family of four. 
HealthPlans of NC

Health Plans of NC, Kelly Quinn

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Individual/Family

Everything You Need To Know About NC Health Choice for Children

Suppose you’re not eligible for Medicaid but can’t afford rising health insurance premiums. In that case, you may be eligible to get free or cheap health care for your children. NC Health Choice for Children offers the same level of coverage as what children of state employees and teachers receive. Keep reading to find out if you’re eligible.
HealthPlans of NC

Health Plans of NC, Kelly Quinn

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Medicare

Five Things to Consider when Helping Senior Parents Find Health Insurance

If your senior parent, relative, or friend asks you for help when choosing their NC health insurance coverage, you can take steps to support them.
HealthPlans of NC

Health Plans of NC, Kelly Quinn

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Medicare

Helping A Senior Relative Or Friend Find Health Insurance

If your senior parent, relative or friend asks for your help in choosing health insurance coverage, there are several things you can do to support them.
How can I help a senior parent, relative or friend find health coverage?
Whether Medicare or other coverage, there are things to consider when trying to help your senior parent, relative or friend find health insurance. It’s not an easy subject to discuss, and it involves talking about sensitive topics like personal health and finances. It will take time and research to select the best plan. Here are four things to consider.
HealthPlans of NC

Health Plans of NC Staff

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Medicare

How To Get Medicare Dental & Vision Coverage in NC

Regular dental and vision exams are essential to help prevent any health complications and maintain your overall health. If you live in North Carolina, our Medicare agents NC can help you understand how to get the right Medicare dental and vision plans for your needs. Once you know your options, you can plan and budget for your future.
HealthPlans of NC

Health Plans of NC, Kelly Quinn

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Health

Considering Early Retirement? Our Agents Can Help You Secure Your Health Insurance!

Early retirement, whether desired or forced, can dramatically impact your health insurance coverage. Depending on the circumstances, you may find yourself responsible for funding your own coverage. The cost of monthly premiums differs widely based on your age, location and benefit needs.
When the Covid Pandemic hit the US in 2020, many people who anticipated waiting until 65 to retire, reexamined their plans. Some people found that businesses they had grown from the ground up were suddenly struggling to make ends meet. Others found their hours cut and occupations furloughed. Regardless of the specific reason, many people approaching the age of 65, and many some distance from this traditional retirement age, began to reconsider their plans for retirement.
Although some individuals who are considering an earlier than expected exit from the work-a-day world, have established a cushion from rising stock values and increased housing values this really is more of the exception than the rule. Most people who watched their careers take an unexpected turn during the Covid pandemic are in a much less enviable position. According to a New School for Social Research professor of economics and policy analysis, Teresa Ghilarducci, most people considering early retirement due to the pandemic have much more modest means as they exit the workforce.
HealthPlans of NC

Health Plans of NC Staff

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Health

4 Reasons You Should Use A Health Insurance Agent

Getting help finding the right plan for your budget and health needs is possible by using a health insurance agent or a government navigator.
HealthPlans of NC

Health Plans of NC Staff

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Health

Self-Employed? What You Need To Know About Health Insurance

In the United States approximately 16 million workers are self-employed. Self – employment can provide an entryway to entrepreneurship and small business ownership as well serving as a preferred option for those wanting more flexible schedules than corporate life can typically provide.
In 2020 it was estimated that approximately 41% of the American workforce worked in a freelance position as a self-employed person. Although many people take on freelance gigs to supplement their primary employment with a single company, about 28% of Americans who worked in freelancing in 2020 did freelance work as their full-time occupation. Regardless of whether this trend is a part of an overarching lifestyle choice as many social pundits suggest, this shift does have significant implications for areas like health care coverage.
In recent US history, most of those in the paid workforce have relied upon employer-sponsored health care plans to help them meet their health insurance needs. As the US experiences this shift from more traditional forms of work into this evolving freelance, or gig, economy there is an increased need for individual health care plans that are not attached to a specific employer.
HealthPlans of NC

Health Plans of NC Staff

People working on laptops
Health

What Freelancers Should Know About Health Insurance

In 2021, around 59 million Americans worked freelance, representing over one-third of the entire US workforce. Although many people take freelance gigs to supplement their primary employment, about 28% of Americans who worked in freelancing in 2020 did freelance work as their full-time occupation. And Upwork, an online freelancing platform, believes that these numbers will continue to grow as more people turn to freelance. Regardless of whether this trend is a part of an overarching lifestyle choice, as many social pundits suggest, this shift does have significant implications for areas like health care coverage.
HealthPlans of NC

Health Plans of NC, Kelly Quinn

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Health

Do You Need To Use A Health Insurance Agent?

Many people find aspects of shopping for health insurance confusing. There are multiple options for medical health insurance available through both the Health Insurance Marketplace and private insurance agencies. You may also have heard of the roles of “health insurance agents” and “government navigators.” If you are unaware of navigators, people engaged in this occupation are paid by state and federal programs and are not allowed to accept compensation from health insurance companies. If you are unclear about these terms and the roles of those who work in these capacities, you aren’t alone.
What are the similarities among agents and navigators?
A licensed health insurance agent and a government exchange navigator, though distinct things, do engage in similar activities. Here is a list of similarities:
HealthPlans of NC

Health Plans of NC Staff

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