John Locke Update / Research Newsletter (Archive)

Running the Numbers

posted on in Health Care

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Many are probably aware that Blue Cross and Blue Shield and Coventry Health Care of the Carolinas are the lone participants on North Carolina’s federally-facilitated health insurance exchange.  While a total of 51 qualified health plans will be offered on the state’s federal marketplace, the number of available plans will vary across the state’s 16 different rating areas.  Furthermore, because Blue Cross dominates the individual health insurance market, it will be offering plans in all of the state’s 100 counties.  Coventry offers plans in just 39.     

The map below shows the 39 counties, in green, where Coventry Health Care of the Carolinas will operate:   

You can also view each rating area’s number of qualified health plans along with the cost of age-adjusted premiums for the cheapest metallic plans here.   

Within the first month of open enrollment (October 1 – November 2), 1,662 North Carolinians were able to complete the enrollment process through the federal health insurance exchange website,  While some of these individuals have paid their first month’s premium, others have selected a plan but still have yet to pay.  According to the Department of Health and Human Services, an additional 42,000 pending applicants are eligible to enroll in a marketplace plan, and another 15,000 qualify for cost-sharing subsidies or premium assistance tax credits. 

Following President Obama’s decree on November 14, up to 230,000 BCBS NC individual policyholders may now cancel any marketplace applications and extend their previously canceled "substandard" policies for an additional year.  However, the extension of non-grandfathered policies will come with a rate increase of up to 24%.  Because of the Obama administration’s last minute change of plans, it will be interesting to see this month’s start-to-finish enrollment numbers.  DHHS plans to release updated website applicant data by mid-December.  

The Wall Street Journal provides a map of states that approved the extension of old health plans:

The fact that some individuals are now given the option to renew canceled policies could deal a blow to the exchange’s much-needed balanced risk pool.  An array of sources state that the majority of the young and healthy will want to hold on to existing plans, meaning the exchanges will be left with a majority of high-risk individuals.  Yikes. 

But insurance companies need not worry, for Obamacare’s risk corridor provision will bail them out with taxpayer money.  More to come regarding this issue in an upcoming newsletter.  

Click here for the Health Update archive.

Katherine Restrepo is the Director of Health Care Policy at the John Locke Foundation. Before joining the John Locke Foundation, she interned at the Cato Institute under the direction of Michael Cannon, Director of Health Policy Studies. Katherine’s… ...

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