There is no doubt that North Carolina is one of the leaders when it comes to improving access to health insurance. Every year, it shows upward trends in its number of insured residents. And this is despite resisting the Affordable Care Act, the law responsible for dramatically minimizing the uninsured population all over the country. With the new president who promised to repeal Obamacare though, the future of the state’s health insurance has become murky. However, due to the ongoing implementation of ACA, you can still obtain affordable coverage through one of the state-exchange or private insurers.
Improving health ratings can further help control rate increases
If NC’s uninsured rating helped mitigate rate increases to some level, you can say that its health standing didn’t do any good. In fact, it may actually have contributed to the hikes, seeing as the state hasn’t performed really well in health-related studies.
For instance, in the 2015 Commonwealth Fund’s Scorecard on State Health System Performance, it ranked 37th of 51. For the most part, it performed below average, gaining a quintile of 3 scorecard for Access, Prevention & Treatment, Avoidable Hospital Use & Costs, and Healthy Lives. Its poorest performance (quintile of 4) was for the category Equity.
The following are some of the study’s health- and lifestyle-related performance findings:
Mortality amenable to healthcare: 93 out of 100,000 people
Breast cancer fatalities: 20.4 out of 100,000 women
Colorectal cancer fatalities: 13.3 out of 100,000 people
Percentage of adult smokers: 18%
Adult obesity: 31%
Obesity in children aged 10-17: 31%
The organization also listed the following statistics surrounding the state’s health insurance access:
19% of adults (19 to 64 years old) don’t have insurance, compared with the national average of 15%
6% of children (infants to 18 years old) are uninsured, as opposed to the countrywide average of 6%
16% of the adult population chose not to obtain insurance due to the high costs associated with it
18% of adults had expensive out-of-pocket medical bills
Metal tiers available in the exchange
2017 enrollees can pick any of the four types of metal tiers available in the state. The specific metal plan you choose will dictate your own out of pocket expenses for paying off medical and hospital bills. Whichever of the options you select though, the portion the insurer will cover will still be greater than your share. Here’s a quick look at the metal tiers and the insurer-covered part:
Bronze – 60%
Silver – 70%
Gold – 80%
Platinum – 90%
The United States Department of Health & Human Services provides the following estimations:
Average lowest-cost, monthly premium within metal level: $650
Average net premium for lowest cost plan within metal tier: $102
Second-lowest silver before advance premium tax credit (for a 27-year old with a $25,000 household income): $446
Second-lowest silver after advance premium tax credit (for a 27-year old with a $25,000 household income): $142
Second-lowest silver before advance premium tax credit (for a family of four with a $60,000 household income): $1,613
Second-lowest silver after advance premium tax credit (for a 27-year old with a $25,000 household income): $405
Consistent reduction in uninsured count
In general, areas with really good insured rating have better premiums. And because The First in Flight State managed to bring down its uninsured rating of 16.8% in 2010 by 5.6% over the following five years, it was able to somewhat reduce the overall statewide rate increase average.
In a U.S. Department of Health & Human Services study, it found that 552,000 more people living in the state, from the then estimated population of 10,042,802 (2015, latest data1), gained access to insurance.
As you can see, this year’s premiums, or the payments one makes towards coverage, will see changes from last year, what with the rate increases. This will still depend on a variety of other factors, however, it pays to read about projected premium averages, as this will give you a way to set realistic expectations.