BCBS NC Announces ACA premiums

Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina (the only insurer offering plans in all 100 counties) announced their premiums today, shown in the table below. Note, that these are the full premium, and do not show the price a consumer would actually pay given a subsidy that some will get based on their income. I am running today so don’t have time to do a great deal of analysis right now. However, the most important question to ask when thinking about these premiums is “as compared to what?”

ScreenHunter_04 Sep. 05 11.27

From the press release, BCBS North Carolina says this about individual premiums:

“The ACA will make coverage available to many who have never had it and will enhance benefits for most consumers. These are good things, but they come at a cost,” said Patrick Getzen, BCBSNC vice president and chief actuary. “After the impact of subsidies, we expect about two-thirds of our individual customers will see the amount they pay for coverage increase similar to previous years – or they may pay less. The remaining one-third of our customers will see fairly substantial increases due to the requirements of the ACA.”

The main requirements that influence premiums are the ban on pre-existing conditions so people can purchase coverage regardless of their health, and the fact that the benefits required by the ACA are more expansive (cover more stuff) than some individual purchased plans in the past.

This News and Observer article does a pretty good job of walking through the purchase calculus for “young invincibles” and most importantly notes the cost that consumers will face after subsidies for a set of examples, which the table above does not do; it shows the full premium (which an individual would have to pay if their income is above 400% of poverty, but not if less). Here is a list of public events BCBS NC is holding to facilitate sign up (things like college football games, and the Fall NASCAR race in Charlotte in October). Here is their online purchase tool.

All this and the inevitable next round of yapping reminds me of what my granddaddy said once at a Church revival meeting that had run late. The visiting preacher said “Brother P.L. (my granddaddy) do you have a word for us? He said simply, “Preacher, there’s been enough said tonight, it is time to go home.”

In the same way, there has been enough said about what whether people will or won’t sign up for health insurance under the ACA. It is time we found out and we will do so starting October 1.

cross posted at freeforall

Author: Don Taylor

Don Taylor is an Associate Professor of Public Policy at Duke University, where his teaching and research focuses on health policy, with a focus on Medicare generally, and on hospice and palliative care, specifically. He increasingly works at the intersection of health policy and the federal budget. Past research topics have included health workforce and the economics of smoking. He began blogging in June 2009 and wrote columns on health reform for the Raleigh, (N.C.) News and Observer. He blogged at The Incidental Economist from March 2011 to March 2012. He is the author of a book, Balancing the Budget is a Progressive Priority that will be published by Springer in May 2012.

5 thoughts on “BCBS NC Announces ACA premiums”

  1. I don’t know what their “catastrophic” plan covers, but in my early 60’s, just a few years ago, I was paying over $500/mo for a $3000 deductible policy. That was under the MA plan. So the quoted rate looks good on that very limited comparison.

    1. $3000 deductible? We couldn’t afford that plan. In my experience (VT), individual-market plans are priced so that the lower deductible is entirely made up for by the higher monthly premium. You win a little on the out-of-pocket limits, should things get that bad.

      I’m also just a little interest to see that almost all the numbers being released are for individual plans. You’d think that for many, many of the prospective new customers the family plans would be more interesting.

  2. Hmm. I’m whelmed. The article didn’t say anything about copays.

    And I thought the point of a catastrophic plan was that it paid *only* in catastrophe. And this one is only for people under 30.

    If the plans cover a lot, they might be a decent deal. I can’t tell from this. I am skeptical though. What if you phrased it as, we just doubled these peoples’ taxes? They’re making practically nothing and we just added to their burdens.

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