Healthcare News & Stories

Individual/Family

We resolve to make health care more affordable.
Health, Blue Cross NC, Individual/Family

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

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

Pretty focused businesswoman sitting at desk holding cellular talking with client holding pen note on notepad
Health, Affordable Care Act, Individual/Family, Medicare

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

Person working on a laptop
Health, Affordable Care Act, Individual/Family, Group

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

2 people having a business meeting
Health, Affordable Care Act, Individual/Family

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

Person reading from an ipad
Individual/Family, Affordable Care Act

5 Tips To Consider For Open Enrollment 2022

Fall has arrived, and with it, the Open Enrollment period for your health insurance plan. Here are important tips to keep in mind as you select your coverage. The Annual Open Enrollment starts November 1, 2022. 
What Is Open Enrollment?
Open Enrollment is a specially designated period of time that you have to enroll yourself and any family members in a health insurance plan. During the open enrollment period, you have the ability to:
HealthPlans of NC

Health Plans of NC Staff

Blue Cross NC
Individual/Family

Blue Cross NC Announces $0 Premiums, Enhanced Benefits For Highly Rated 2022 Medicare Advantage Plan

DURHAM, N.C. – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) announced it will again offer plans with $0 premiums for Medicare beneficiaries in its Blue Medicare Advantage service area along with extra benefits, including a 100% coverage dental plan, higher over-the-counter allowances, copay reductions, and a Part B premium reduction on its 2022 Medicare Advantage (MA) plans.
“Providing seniors with the most benefits at the lowest possible cost is a top priority for Blue Cross NC,” said Dr. Tunde Sotunde, President and CEO of Blue Cross NC. “Making our Medicare plans more robust, accessible, and affordable is just one of the ways we’re working to make health care better for all North Carolinians.”
For 2022, Blue Cross NC Medicare Advantage HMO and PPO plans were rated 4.5 out of 5 stars by Medicare, which demonstrates high performance in six different categories:
HealthPlans of NC

Original Article Blue Cross NC Media Center News Release via Blue Cross NC

People walking on a beach
Individual/Family, Covid 19, Affordable Care Act

More People Now Eligible For Health Insurance Through The ACA

Better ACA subsidies have been announced, making health insurance coverage significantly more affordable for millions of people.
An average of three out of five eligible uninsured Americans can access $0 plans after advance payments of tax credits
An average of four out of five current HealthCare.gov consumers will be able to find a plan for $10 or less per month after advance payments of tax credits  
HealthPlans of NC

Health Plans of NC Staff

Person throwing child in the air
Individual/Family, Affordable Care Act

Some People Pay $0 For Health Insurance

In response to the COVID-19 national emergency, President Biden has signed into law the American Rescue Act of 2021  making health insurance coverage significantly more affordable for millions of people. This includes increasing the number of people eligible for subsidies and offering zero-dollar premiums for people with lower incomes. Starting April 1, more Americans will be able to qualify for a lower monthly premium through Affordable Care Act (ACA) health plans. 
Can I benefit from The American Rescue Act?
Whether you have private health insurance, lost coverage due to job loss, or are unable to afford a plan, the American Rescue Act may benefit you. The new law also allows people who previously made too much for subsidies to now qualify for premium subsidies.
HealthPlans of NC

Health Plans of NC Staff

We resolve to make health care simpler.
Individual/Family, Affordable Care Act

5 Questions To Ask Before Picking A Health Insurance Plan

Health insurance can be complicated. Whether you’re purchasing health insurance for the first time or just needs some help navigating the marketplace, we have the answers to your most pressing questions.
1. When can you buy health insurance?
If you buy your health insurance through the marketplace, not through your employer, there are a few times you’re able to purchase a plan. The first is during Open Enrollment, which occurs each November and runs through December 15th.
HealthPlans of NC

Blue Cross NC

Person throwing a child up in the air
Individual/Family

New Lower Costs Available On The ACA Marketplace!

New! Lower Cost on the Marketplace for Health Plans!
Making healthcare insurance significantly more affordable for millions of people. Start or switch to a better plan for less cost.
In response to the COVID-19 national emergency, President Biden has signed into law the American Rescue Act of 2021 which includes increasing the number of people eligible for subsidies and offers zero-dollar premiums for people with lower incomes. Starting April 1, more Americans will be able to qualify for a lower monthly premium through Affordable Care Act (ACA) health plans. 
HealthPlans of NC

Health Plans of NC Staff

People doing a video call on a laptop
Individual/Family, Affordable Care Act, Covid 19

Healthcare Premium Relief - New Subsidies Announced

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 provides relief for Marketplace Premiums making plans more affordable to consumers. The law increases subsidy amounts and extends subsidy eligibility to households that were not eligible before.
Because of the COVID-19 Special Enrollment period currently in progress, the American public has the opportunity to apply for coverage or make changes to their existing coverage without the need of a qualifying life event.
This special enrollment period ends August 15, 2021.
HealthPlans of NC

Health Plans of NC Staff

People writing on a document
Individual/Family, Affordable Care Act

Why Health Insurance Is Important & What Options You Have

You never plan to get sick or have a medical condition. So when the unexpected happens, having health insurance can give you peace of mind.
Health insurance also helps you maintain good health. People with health insurance are more likely to stick to routine care or check-ups when something seems a little off.
Here are a few stories from members sharing how health insurance has helped them in times of need:
HealthPlans of NC

James LaCorte

ACA Affordable Care Act
Individual/Family, Affordable Care Act, Covid 19

ACA Opens Special Enrollment Period In Response To COVID-19: What You Need To Know

If you missed open enrollment for Affordable Care Act (ACA) health insurance, you now have another opportunity to sign up. 
On January 28, President Biden issued an Executive Order on strengthening Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act: 
“In light of the exceptional circumstances caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall consider establishing a Special Enrollment Period for uninsured and under-insured Americans to seek coverage through the Federally Facilitated Marketplace.” 
HealthPlans of NC

Leslie Mckinney via Blue Cross

Open Enrollment Dates
Individual/Family, Affordable Care Act, Medicare

Open Enrollment: Are You Ready?

Ready to enroll in a healthcare plan or update your coverage during the 2021 Annual Enrollment Period?
Health Plans of NC Independent Agents provide full service by addressing all of your questions when choosing a healthcare plan at NO COST TO YOU– including applying for financial assistance to reduce your cost. Why spend time searching for answers online when you can speak to someone directly and get quick and concise answers?
Our agents are with you through the entire enrollment process from plan comparison and selection, subsidy applications if applicable and any document uploads required. Our job is to make it as easy as possible for you to choose a plan that fits both your budget and healthcare needs for you and/or your family. We even have multilingual agents (Spanish and Korean) that can make the process go more smoothly.
HealthPlans of NC

Health Plans of NC Staff

We resolve to make health care simpler.
Individual/Family, Medicare, Affordable Care Act

3 Questions To Ask Before Picking A Health Insurance Plan

Health insurance can be complicated. We’re here to help make it easier. If you’re choosing a plan during this year’s open enrollment period, we can help walk you through the process.
Open enrollment begins on November 1, 2020 and runs through December 15, 2020. With only a month and a half to select a plan that works for you, it’s best to get started early.
As you research plans, here are three questions to ask:
HealthPlans of NC

Blue Cross NC

Smiling couple looking at baby clothes
Health, Blue Cross NC, Individual/Family, Medicare

Life Changes? When & How To Let Your Health Insurer Know

Getting married, moving to a new home, and adopting children are exciting events in your life. When these changes happen the last thing, you may think about is letting your health insurer know.  It’s important to let us know of these exciting events or other unexpected changes so we can make sure you have the right coverage and we’re able to send important communications to you.
Examples of changes you should report
A Change in Name:
HealthPlans of NC

James LaCorte

Stethoscope and calculator
Health, Affordable Care Act, Individual/Family

Planning For A Medical Procedure? Find Out What You Could Be Paying

How would you feel if you were expected to buy a car, a television or even a meal, without knowing first how much it will cost you? Confused? Helpless? Frustrated?
Unfortunately, that’s exactly how many of us feel when we’re faced with planning a medical test or procedure. We have no idea how much an MRI or a series of blood tests will cost – much less a medical procedure or surgery. This makes a stressful situation even harder to navigate. And if the stress wasn’t enough, lack of health care pricing transparency costs our country more than $100 billion every year. As they say in Washington: that’s real money.
Why is this happening? Because health care is the last frontier of pricing secrecy.
HealthPlans of NC

Charlene Macielag

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