HERE IT COMES–Health Care Reform Starts Taking Shape Through Health Insurance Exchange

Contributed by Martha Brock.  Based on article in Raleigh News and Observer
One Million to get health subsidy
How North Carolinians get their insurance now: 
Through employers: 4.6 million    
Medicare: 1.6 million    
Medicaid: 1.4 million  
Individual policies: 435,000    
Uninsured: 1.5 million 
Sources: N.C. Institute of Medicine, U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services   
[in October] Health insurance exchange will get rolling    Health insurers will begin enrolling customers under the Affordable Care Act on Oct. 1 and will begin providing subsidized coverage Jan.1. North Carolinians who already get insurance through their employers may see changes in price and coverage options in the future. The new law includes subsidies, called premium tax credits, averaging $5,000 a year, for those who fall within certain income levels. 
The actual amount of the subsidy depends on multiple factors. Most people who can’t afford subsidized health insurance will qualify for the federal Medicaid program. The health insurance subsidies will be available to individuals with annual income up to $45,960 a year, or a family of four with household income up to $94,200. Insurers here are seeking state and federal approval of several dozen plans that vary in coverage and cost. The least expensive will cover 60 percent of medical costs, leaving 40 percent to the individual. The most expensive will cover 90 percent of medical costs, leaving 10 percent to the individual. 
Ironically, the subtitle for this front page story is ‘Only 3 firms are set to aid the uninsured.’
I guess the writers at the paper consider choice of providers important–except when it involves care for the mentally ill.  Also, it [the subtitle]ignores that BC/BS has a virtual monopoly with only a couple of other major insurance firms competing for NC’s healthcare dollars.  
Learn how to enroll under the Affordable Care
Cary, NC

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