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NC Health Insurance Marketplace Opens Tuesday: A Quick Primer

The health insurance marketplace that opens Tuesday will give North Carolinians a new way to shop for coverage.

The marketplace, or exchange, will be kind of like an Amazon.com for health insurance. It’s one website where you can compare the products of different companies.

It’s designed to be especially appealing to people who are uninsured and make between 100 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty level. For an individual, that’s between about $11,500 and $46,000. If you fall in that range, you could get a tax subsidy to make your premium cheaper.  

Not counting subsidies, premiums will range from less than $100 to more than $900 a month, depending on your age, where you live in North Carolina, and what kind of plan you want.

On average, premiums will be higher in the North Carolina marketplace than they are nationally, according to federal data. That could be because there’s not much competition here. Blue Cross Blue Shield is the only company offering plans in every county. Coventry Health Care will offer plans in 39 counties, including Mecklenburg, Wake and Guilford counties.

The marketplace will be a seasonal business. It’s open from Tuesday until the end of March.