With a major phase of the Affordable Care Act scheduled to begin Tuesday, the first information on marketplace premiums was issued Wednesday in a report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Premiums in North Carolina will be lower than expected, and consumers will be able choose from an average of 22 health plans in the Health Insurance Marketplace.
Due to the fact that the Republican led North Carolina legislature refused grants to help educate the public on the new law and grants to help low income familes afford it, North Carolinians will be paying more than the national average for health care insurance and will have fewer plans to choose from.
The national average is 53 plans.
North Carolina is one of the states that opted out of setting up statewide health exchanges, so the marketplace was organized by the federal government.
The plans will be categorized as “gold,” “silver,” or “bronze,” and there will be an additional catastrophic-coverage plan available to young adults.
The national average for the second-lowest-cost silver plan is $328 before tax credits.
In North Carolina, the same plan will average $369.
To be more specific, in North Carolina, the premium will be $243 for the second-lowest-cost silver plan for a 27-year-old with an income of $25,000. It will be $880 for the second-lowest-cost silver plan for a family of four making $50,000.
After tax credits, those costs would drop to $145 and $282, respectively.
According to the report, a 27-year-old in the Greensboro-Winston-Salem-High Point area making $25,000 per year will pay $84 per month for the lowest-cost bronze plan, and $145 per month of the second-lowest-cost silver plan, when you factor in tax credits.
A family of four in the Triad with an income of $50,000 per year would pay $62 per month for the lowest-cost bronze plan after tax credits.
States with more competition had lower premiums. In the 36 states where the federal government is running the Marketplace, the average number of insurers was eight.
In North Carolina, only Blue Cross and Blue Shield will offer insurance plans statewide on the exchange.
Coventry Health Care of the Carolinas will offer plans on the exchange in 39 counties, including Guilford. Aetna acquired Coventry in May.
There will be 17 qualified health plans in the Triad, according to HHS.
The report said six out of 10 people who currently are uninsured will be able to find coverage for $100 or less per month, once you factor in premium tax credits and Medicaid coverage.
Consumers will be able to find out if they qualify for premium assistance when the Marketplace opens Oct. 1. No one can be denied insurance because of pre-existing conditions.