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Health

Almost 300,000 Uninsured In NC Could Qualify For Health Plans With No Monthly Premiums

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Almost 300,000 North Carolinians without health insurance could get a plan with no monthly premiums on the federal marketplace. That’s according to a Kaiser Family Foundation analysis. 

With four days left to sign up for 2019 coverage through healthcare.gov, the health policy and research organization found more than half of the 4.2 million uninsured people eligible for these plans live in Texas, Florida, Georgia and North Carolina.

Cynthia Cox researches the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, for KFF. 

“These are big states, but these are also states that haven’t expanded Medicaid,” she said. “That means that there are a lot of uninsured people. Some of those uninsured people, instead of signing up for Medicaid, can also go onto healthcare.gov and get heavily subsidized insurance there.”

While the $0 premium plans may seem like a great option, the KFF analysis points out many have high deductibles averaging more than $6,000 a year. Cox also said there are still many uninsured people who can’t get these plans because they don’t qualify for tax credits. KFF reports in 2017, more than 1 million people in North Carolina were uninsured.

These plans started becoming available last year after the Trump Administration stopped payments to insurers to help subsidize the cost of coverage for low-income consumers. Insurers responded by raising the premiums for the health plans by which the tax credits are determined. When those tax credits kicked in for consumers buying cheaper plans, it had the effect of covering their entire monthly premium cost.