health insurance

One of the big issues in the GOP tax reform bill is the elimination of the health insurance mandate  - the requirement, under the Affordable Health Care Act, that all Americans get coverage or pay a fine.  ACA open enrollment is underway through December 15, and the impact of the tax bill is just one of many questions and concerns.   BPR’s Helen Chickering spoke with Jackie Kiger, managing attorney with Pisgah Legal Services

Just over a month after Mission Health’s contract with Blue Cross expired, the two organizations have gone back to the negotiating  table.  A Blue Cross spokesman confirmed by email that talks are underway, saying, “Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina and Mission Health have entered into discussions regarding a future network participation agreement and will refrain from public comment until those talks are completed.”

There is now a disincentive for health insurance navigators to set up shop in rural areas. Navigators are those specially trained people that help consumers sign up for health insurance on the marketplace. The Trump administration has tied their funding to how many people they sign up for coverage on the marketplace. Since chances are higher of signing up more people in urban areas, navigators in South Carolina are focusing on cities at the expense of rural areas.

President Donald Trump is expressing support for an agreement struck by two leading lawmakers to extend federal payments to health insurers.

President Trump’s decision to stop paying subsidies to insurance companies means many middle class families will likely pay more for coverage. As part of the Affordable Care Act, insurers got those payments to help make health insurance affordable for customers.

Jeremy Loeb/BPR

Western North Carolina Republican Congressman Mark Meadows met face to face with supporters and detractors during a town hall debate last night near Hendersonville that was largely dominated by health care.  BPR’s Jeremy Loeb was there.

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Mission Health says it may stop accepting Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance later this year, a major decision that would affect thousands throughout Western North Carolina.  Mission said in a statement that if no agreement is reached by October 4th, Blue Cross Blue Shield members would not have ‘in-network’ access to its facilities.  That means patients would have to seek care elsewhere, or pay more out of pocket. 

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1.34 million North Carolinians could lose health insurance if the Senate health care bill became law, according to the liberal think-tank the Center for American Progress.  The group evaluated numbers by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office that found 22 million Americans could lose health coverage under the Senate plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina filed to increase Affordable Care Act premiums by 22.9 percent next year.

Walter Jones, who represents North Carolina’s Third Congressional District, was the only Republican in this state to vote against a bill that will repeal portions of Obamacare.

"Most of the reason is that we don’t have an updated Congressional Budget Office score," he told WUNC as the bill passed 217-213.

"The last day or two, leadership has talked to me about it, (asked me), 'What would it take to get your vote?' They are cutting deals with members of Congress, tweaking this and tweaking that, and you don’t know what the costs are going to be."

The dominant insurance company in North Carolina performed far better on the Obamacare exchange last year and increased overall profits dramatically as a result.

The head of the Obamacare exchanges is encouraging consumers to continue signing up for health insurance even though Republicans are promising to repeal the law. The CEO of healthcare.gov acknowledges he can't guarantee there won't be changes in coverage.

Health care in the United States has gone through major changes during the Obama administration. President-elect Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress will soon have the power to flip all that. WFAE's Michael Tomsic reports on what that may mean in North Carolina.  

Beginning this week, hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians will again shop for health coverage through the Affordable Care Act exchange.

Entering 2017, however, shoppers in this state will see fewer options than in previous years.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina announced Thursday it would continue to offer Affordable Care Act health insurance plans in all 100 North Carolina counties.

The announcement comes after months of internal debate at the state’s largest insurer. In May, BCBSNC announced heavy financial losses it incurred from individuals who buy these “Obamacare” plans.

The Obama administration is touting a new argument for why states like North Carolina should expand Medicaid. Federal researchers found in states that already have, the premiums people pay on the Obamacare exchanges are lower.

NC Child

A new study from NC Child finds North Carolina's slowed progress in combating infant mortality could be a result of a lack of insurance for women.  One in five women across the state lack health insurance, a problem exacerbated by the so-called "Medicaid gap."  That's the coverage gap people fall into who make too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough for tax credits on the Affordable Care Act

Check out this interactive map to explore where your county stands on infant mortality rate.

North Carolina’s infant mortality rate is one of the worst in the country—only eight states have worse rates.

The Obamacare exchange in North Carolina will experience some turnover among insurance companies next year. It'll likely result in three companies still taking part but only one or two in most counties.