Health Insurance Info & News…Annual Enrollment fast approaching

LENOIR, NC (08-27-2017 by Laura Sedlacek)…With annual enrollment, right around the corner, you may be wondering what’s going on with health insurance.

The attempts to pass the American Healthcare Act failed.  The latest attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act and the partial repeal (skinny bill) failed.  More for profit insurance companies are pulling out of the market.

Humana and Aetna are pulling out of all ACA exchanges next year.  Aetna had already pulled out of the exchange in North Carolina this year.

Because Republicans were not able to advance a healthcare bill in Congress, we’re still left with the Affordable Care Act.  Annual Enrollment starts this year on November 1st.  It ends earlier this time on December 15th!  That gives you 45 days to decide what kind of individual health coverage you will have for 2018.

Several million people are currently signed up for a private policy in subsidized markets.  Millions more are covered with expanded Medicaid.

It’s not clear what Republicans may try next while it seems Democrats are advocating to get the law repaired.  Without the support (taxes) of outside sources, insurance companies could fail.

What does this mean for those of us buying individual plans in North Carolina?  For the upcoming year, insurance companies are required to submit their ACA Marketplace plans to the state insurance agencies.  Some companies expand, some stay as is, and some leave the market all together.  For Marketplace plans, it’s expected to be about the same in 2018 as it is this year in Caldwell County.   (Please note:  2018 ACA on or off Marketplace individual health plan offerings in Caldwell County have not yet been determined as of the writing of this article)

Aetna is withdrawing their off-Marketplace plans from the individual health market in North Carolina at the end of 2017.  They will not offer individual plans at all in North Carolina in 2018.

Insurers cite uncertainties created by the current Administration as reason to end their ACA Marketplace participation.

The cost-sharing reductions (CSR’s) may or may not continue to insurance companies, either.  The CSR payments help to subsidize consumer deductibles and copays.

In our area this year, we had only one choice on the Marketplace.  In the Raleigh area, they had two Marketplace choices.  There were some other options with one off Marketplace individual health plan offered, and non-ACA compliant choices for individuals such as Short-term health, Hospital Indemnity plans, etc.

It still remains to be seen how the North Carolina marketplace will shape up this Fall for next year.  It’s best to keep in mind if you have or want an individual health insurance policy, Annual Enrollment (Nov 1st-Dec 15th) is when you can take out a plan or make a change to an existing plan.

–Laura Sedlacek is an insurance agent with Bush and Associates in Lenoir, NC.  Bush and Associates offers ACA Individual Health, Short-term Health, Hospital Indemnity, Accident or Cancer plans, Medicare Supplements, Dental and Group Employee Benefits.