Health Care Reform –Observations and Developments Post Legislation

NC Insurance Plans Online, an authorized agency and online health insurance quote provider, is aware that our and readers in North Carolina, like people everywhere, are looking at the new law with great interest. Our phones still ring as Blue Cross Blue Shield insured individuals call with questions about health care reform. Readers are encouraged visit the website for Blue Cross Blue Shield North Carolina, which touches on some of these issues with up-to-date information, as well as the national health care reform website.

We observed, as most folks did, that the costs of health care rose sharply and dramatically this last decade before health care reform. New treatments, new technologies and the use of prescription drugs have driven health care costs up. The effects of new mandates, programs, taxes, fees, rules and regulations, etc., are difficult to predict, but they are expected to generate large cost increases in health care. In total, we are likely to see quite significant increases in costs.

At the BCBSNC website, “What will happen to my premiums?” is shown as a frequently asked question. The answer is, whether one is uninsured, publicly insured, or privately insured (insurance status) and how much health care one requires, will determine the premium one pays.

As our readers likely know, an individual insurance mandate in place requires that everyone have insurance or pay a penalty to the government. Having as many people contributing to the insurance pool as possible is what is needed for the system to work well. We who specialize in insurance are concerned that too many people may choose to pay a penalty and not have insurance since the penalty is set as low as it is. Unfortunately, having too few people in the system would negatively impact every persons health care costs and reduce the success of health care reform.

Blue Cross Blue Shields analysts expect that plans for individuals and small businesses will increase in price because of new provisions that have been put in place. The new law at this point does not allow for sufficient price reductions for those who are young and healthy. However, when small businesses or individuals are able to receive a subsidy, their insurance costs may not increase beyond what would occur without the new health care reform.

An interesting area to watch will be the development of the health care exchanges, through which individuals, small businesses and their employees, may buy coverage. The primary goal is to have an organized and competitive presentation of health plan products that website users can buy. The individuals and businesses that receive subsidies will also be served at the online health care exchanges. Different levels of health plans will be offered. In time, each state is to have the choice whether or not to open the exchanges to larger companies.

We at NC Insurance Plans Online welcome those interested in learning about NC health plans to contact us online or by phone anytime.

Elliot Bigman is an insurance agent with NC Insurance Plans Online and Direct Marketing Associates, an award winning BCBSNC insurance agency serving NC.