Submitted by Rachel R on Mon, 03/21/2016 - 10:52am
ACA premiums skyrocket in Garner
Image Source: Flickr User Judith Doyle
As we head into the next plan year of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), it looks like premiums will be far from affordable for residents of Garner, North Carolina. Blue Cross and Blue Shield, the only carrier that covers all North Carolina counties including Wake County, has asked for a whopping 34.6% average rate increase. On top of that, two top plans are being eliminated that will drastically impact customers.
How will this affect your healthcare costs in Garner?
It’s not just Blue Cross that’s asking for a significant rate hike. United HealthCare and Coventry, other Garner, NC insurance carriers, have requested rate increases of between 17% to almost 26%. And with the Blue Cross increase, it’s not a flat 34.6% - that’s just an average. Some policies will cost just 5% more while others will be hit by a staggering 42%.
If you’re hit by one of the costlier rate increases, you may find that your premiums are no longer affordable. Hardest hit will be those that aren’t benefiting from Federal subsidies, but all Garner consumers insured under the Affordable Care Act, rather than through employer policies, could be impacted.
If you can no longer afford your coverage, that means you may have to opt out of coverage and face the ACA penalty for not having a policy. Alternately, you may have to opt for a less costly policy that also offers less robust coverage, increases out-of-pocket costs, or that forces you to change away from your preferred physicians.
Why are ACA health insurance rate increases so high in Garner, NC?
The Raleigh News & Observer reports that Blue Cross is blaming the higher than anticipated rate hikes on the law that forces insurers to accept all consumers regardless of pre-existing conditions. Insurance carriers were told that enough young and healthy individuals would enroll in plans to offset those with chronic conditions that are costlier on carriers.
That has apparently not panned out, and insurance companies are seeing the second year in a row of losses, according to carrier claims. In fact, many of the younger and healthier Americans opted out of Obamacare altogether. Nearly seven million Americans chose to pay the penalty rather than enroll in health insurance – this was a significantly higher percentage than was expected to decline coverage.
A representative from Blue Cross stated that its healthcare costs in North Carolina exceeded revenue by more than $123 million. This makes sense given a recent report by the government showing an average increase in spending per person, since the enactment of the ACA, of close to $10,000 per person. Likely many people have increased little while others have seen significantly more activity.
How Garner, NC health plans could be impacted
In addition to the rate increases, some Blue Cross plans are being eliminated. Roughly 380,000 North Carolina consumers will be hit with the Blue Cross rate increase if they stay with that carrier. Even those that receive Federal subsidies will still have to pay some of the rate hike and will not be shielded from this increase.
Blue Advantage and Blue Select plans will be discontinued, and roughly 55,000 North Carolina residents participate in those plans. Consumers in these plans will have to choose alternate coverage which will be lower cost plans that have fewer choices of doctors and network options. North Carolina insurance regulator can reject increases, but carriers have other tools to fight back.
The bottom line on medical costs in Garner
Since the ACA has come online, there have been fewer bankruptcies attributed primarily to medical costs, but rate increases, changes in coverage, and losses of coverage could see medical bankruptcy in a resurgence. If you have medical bills you can’t pay that are due to copays, co-insurance, or that were incurred before you enrolled in health coverage, bankruptcy can help.
And if you’re a Garner consumer already struggling to pay your bills, a health insurance rate increase may seem impossible to deal with – but there are solutions. If you are living paycheck to paycheck, maxed out on credit cards, dodging debt collection calls and stressed about your finances, North Carolina bankruptcy may be the best solution for a fresh start.
Contact the Law Offices of John T. Orcutt today for a free Garner, North Carolina bankruptcy consultation. Call +1-919-646-2654 now for a free appointment at one of our locations in Raleigh, Durham, Fayetteville, Wilson, Greensboro, Garner or Wilmington. Get the financial peace of mind you deserve – call now.
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