North Carolina Health Insurance Exchange Marketplace
North Carolina employs the federally run health insurance exchange, meaning that enrollment for health insurance plans is through HealthCare.gov.
Open Enrollment Period and Dates in North Carolina
Open enrollment for 2020
health insurance plans has ended, although North Carolina residents with qualifying events can still enroll or make changes to their coverage for 2020.
The next open enrollment period, for health insurance plans effective in 2021, will begin November 1, 2020.
Four insurers – Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, Cigna, Ambetter, and Bright – are providing 2020 individual market plans via the North Carolina health insurance marketplace. (Most of the state has a single carrier – Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina – offering health insurance plans in the exchange.) Bright Health is a newcomer as of 2020, providing plans in the Charlotte and Winston-Salem areas.
Average premiums (before the application of any subsidies) for 2020 are a little lower in North Carolina as compared to 2019. The average benchmark plan premium in North Carolina’s dropped by 10 percent for 2020, though overall average premiums dropped by a little less than 6 percent (for pre-existing plans, not counting Bright’s new plans).
505,275 individuals enrolled in private plans through the North Carolina health insurance marketplace during the open enrollment period
for 2020 coverage, which was an increase over 2019’s enrollment.
The Expansion of Medicaid in North Carolina
North Carolina is one of 14 states that still have not accepted federal subsidies to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. An estimated 626,000 in the state would gain coverage if the state were to accept federal funding to expand the coverage.
Since the state refused to expand Medicaid, North Carolina has an estimated 194,000 inhabitants in the coverage gap, with no access to Medicaid coverage or health insurance marketplace subsidies.
North Carolina’s Short-Term Health Insurance
North Carolina defaults to new federal regulations concerning short-term health insurance coverage. This means that short-term plans are allowed to have initial terms of up to 364 days, total duration, and renewal of up to 36 months.
North Carolina does have various laws and regulations that apply to short-term health insurance plans.
How Obamacare Has Assisted North Carolina Residents
North Carolina’s refusal to expand Medicaid has contributed to an uninsured rate that is considerably higher than it would be if the state had accepted federal funds to make Medicaid available to all adults (assuming they have been legal United States residents for at least five years) with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty rate. But the ACA has certainly benefited North Carolina people who used the exchange to enroll in Medicaid or private health insurance plans. The state was one of six states in the United States that enrolled more than half of its potential market via its exchange in 2015 and has consistently had third-highest enrollment among HealthCare.gov states, and the fourth-highest among all states.
According to the United States Census data, 15.6 percent of North Carolina inhabitants were uninsured in 2013. That had fallen to 10.4 percent by 2016, even though it had increased slightly, to 10.7 percent, by 2018 (the national average has crept up under the Trump leadership).
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