After years of rising prices for Affordable Care Act health insurance plans, many North Carolinians are in for a nice surprise – a price decrease. Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina says the state approved its request to lower rates an average of 4.1 percent across the state. In the Charlotte and Gastonia areas premiums could decrease by as much as 16.5 percent. The amount will vary based on the tax credits people qualify for.
Preliminary numbers show 8.8 million people bought health insurance plans through the federal exchange this year nationwide. That’s 96 percent of last year’s sign-ups, despite a lot of changes to the Affordable Care Act and a shorter window to enroll. Sign-ups in the Carolinas were also close to that of last year.
There is now a disincentive for health insurance navigators to set up shop in rural areas. Navigators are those specially trained people that help consumers sign up for health insurance on the marketplace. The Trump administration has tied their funding to how many people they sign up for coverage on the marketplace. Since chances are higher of signing up more people in urban areas, navigators in South Carolina are focusing on cities at the expense of rural areas.
It is unclear how many North Carolinians would be left uninsured under the updated Senate health bill. It was estimated that an earlier version of the bill would increase the uninsured population across the country by 22 million over the next decade.
Audio of WFAE's David Boraks interviewing U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis.
U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis is used to fielding a lot of questions. It goes with the job. But many questions in the last two weeks have concerned his health since he passed out during a road race in Washington, D.C.
"I ran the fastest 2.5 mile race of my life. Unfortunately, it was a 3-mile race," he quips.
As you can tell, Tillis says he’s fine. He says he just didn’t hydrate properly.
Of course, Tillis still gets asked about President Trump, Russia, health care, and immigration - all topics he addressed with WFAE’s David Boraks.
North Carolina's largest health insurer is looking to raise premiums for its Obamacare plans by an average of 23 percent. Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina sent the rate hike request to state regulators Thursday.
A big reason for the increase: efforts to end Obamacare.