by Katherine Restrepo
Director of Health Care Policy, John Locke Foundation
North Carolina now now has a third player entering Obamacare’s game of subsidized health plan distribution. It looks like UnitedHealthcare has left the sidelines to start offering federally approved health coverage for consumers shopping in the non group market. Round two of the federal health law’s exchange enrollment period begins this November 15.
Competition and choice will boost a bit, but to what extent? At this juncture it remains unknown where in the state United will be selling individual policies – Blue Cross and Blue Shield currently cover all of North Carolina’s 100 counties, while Coventry offers plans in just 39.
Yet premium increases will still happen, mostly for the young and healthy signer-uppers. And while higher risk and low-income enrollees may currently benefit from Obamacare’s price controls, their good deal could fade in 2017.
Believe it or not, there are ways in which insurers can provide affordable health insurance products – even for those with pre-existing health conditions – sin excessive federal mandates and regulations. It’s known as health status insurance (similar to guaranteed renewable), and it awaits to be unleashed.