The North Carolina Department of Insurance today announced that it has completed timely reviews and approvals of health insurance rates for plans that insurers have proposed to sell in the federal Health Insurance Marketplace. This approval allows the insurers to continue the process to become certified by the federal government to participate in the Marketplace.
The Health Insurance Marketplace, also known as a health benefit exchange, will be accessible online through www.healthcare.gov and is a place where individuals, families and small employers will be able to compare health insurance options and shop for coverage. Those eligible will be able to take advantage of federal subsidies and tax credits. Pursuant to N.C. Session Law 2013-5, the federal government will operate the Marketplace in North Carolina.
As of today, rates have been approved for three insurers that have indicated to NCDOI their intent to sell plans on the Marketplace. The insurers include Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, Coventry Health Care of the Carolinas, and FirstCarolinaCare. All three have indicated intent to participate in the individual market; BCBSNC has indicated intent to also participate in the small group market. Coverage options will vary by county. As the federal government will be operating the Marketplace in North Carolina, it will make the final decision as to which plans may be sold through the Marketplace in this state.
Rate details for these insurers were filed with NCDOI as trade secret, and under North Carolina law, may not be released by NCDOI without the consent of the insurer.
The Health Insurance Marketplace is scheduled to open for enrollment on Oct. 1. Health insurance plans, from the insurers above as well as others operating in the state, will also be available outside of the Marketplace; however, income-based federal subsidies are only available through the Marketplace. For coverage beginning in 2014, no health insurer may deny coverage to an individual or small group, or charge more for coverage because of health status, claims experience or a pre-existing condition.
For more information about the Health Insurance Marketplace, visit www.healthcare.gov or call the federal Marketplace Consumer Call Center at 800-318-2596.