by Brenée Goforth
Communications Associate, John Locke Foundation
This week, Carolina Journal’s Julie Havlak reported on the announced rate cuts for Blue Cross N.C. customers. According to Havlak:
In 2020 Blue Cross N.C. will reduce average rates in all counties for the first time in more than 25 years, when it entered the current individual market. The insurer will shave off 5.5% from Affordable Care Act premiums. The premiums have increased 107.38% since 2014.
This premium cut, however, will only translate into savings for the minority of Blue Cross’s ACA customers. Havlak reports:
Relatively few people will benefit directly from the drop. Those who make almost $50,000 qualify for tax credits. About 90% of Blue Cross N.C.’s current customers with ACA plans are subsidized.
But for those who don’t get subsidies, the coverage can be massively expensive. Small business owners have complained of paying $25,000 a year for coverage for two.
…Consumers’ savings will vary across the state, ranging from less than $10 to almost $50 per month.
According to Avalere Associate Principal Chris Sloan:
“It’s good, unquestionably good, for consumers and the market, but it does not solve the affordability challenges for those individuals, particularly those who don’t qualify for subsidies.”
According to Havlak:
Blue Cross N.C. credits its most recent two rate decreases to moving toward value-based care and new contractual relationships with major health systems.