Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina asked regulators Tuesday to approve reinstatement of canceled plans that don't meet Affordable Care Act requirements, but the move may come with a hefty price tag: BCBSNC is seeking 16 percent to 23 percent rate hikes on extended individual plans, according to WRAL.com. These increases are due to ACA-triggered taxes and fees, coupled with rising healthcare consumption by enrollees of these plans, the article noted.
Proposed increases would take effect on January 1; but if the North Carolina Department of Insurance decides they're too high, the regulator may require BCBSNC to issue refunds, The News & Observer reported.
These increases represent twice the price inflation for the same product offerings one year ago, News & Observer reported. Yet some customers are cheering nonetheless, possibly since ACA-compliant replacement plans may cost up to three times more than their dearly-departed counterparts, WRAL noted.
"The key thing is--this is one more year," said BCBSNC spokesperson Michelle Douglas. "It's not saying you can keep this plan forever."
More that 473,000 North Carolinians, including 227,400 Blue Cross members, were affected by the cancelations, according to insurance commissioner Wayne Goodwin.
Responding to public outcry about cancelations after telling people they could keep their plans if they liked them, President Obama proposed a one-year reinstatement of canceled plans as a temporary fix. But not all states are implementing the President's proposal. And the possibility of rate shock rocking the financial stability of the health insurance system has surfaced before, in the buying behaviors of young adults.
BCBSNC plans to send renewal notices to eligible customers by December 1, WRAL noted. And the extension only applies to those enrolled in individual plans on or before October 1. Customers who can't afford possible rate hikes may shop for other products on the federal exchange.