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Insurance companies struggle financially as ACA deadline arrives

Posted January 31
Updated February 1

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— Since open enrollment began, more than 575,000 North Carolina customers have selected a plan or were automatically re-enrolled, but Sunday was the last day to sign up for health care insurance coverage for 2016 under the Affordable Care Act.

On the final day, volunteers in Raleigh helped people navigate through the enrollment process of the Affordable Care Act.

“Nine out of 10 people who have enrolled in health care coverage here in North Carolina have actually gotten help with the cost of that health insurance,” said Jennifer Simmons, with N.C. Navigator Consortium.

Simmons believes customers buying plans under the Affordable Care Act walk away with peace of mind.

“You actually have the peace of mind that comes from having health insurance. You know you can go to the doctor if there is an emergency. You know you can get that preventative care that people need,” she said.

Health insurance companies, on the other hand, are now saying they could use a little help. The Affordable Care Act is hurting them financially, according to Blue Cross Blue Shield, because of customers buying plans under the act.

Last year, the company reported a $50 million net loss. This year, Blue Cross Blue Shield is cutting commissions for insurance agents. United Healthcare and Coventry also made changes to commissions.

The final deadline to sign up for insurance at HealthCare.gov for 2016 coverage was midnight Pacific time, or 3 a.m. Eastern time.

22 Comments

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  • Maurice Pentico Jr. Feb 1, 2016
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    Just google British NHS problems.... pretty sure Americans are not ready for our health system to be run with the same care and compassion as the DMV.

    http://kff.org/medicare/fact-sheet/medicare-spending-and-financing-fact-sheet/

    Could you image just the taxes necessary to support this kind of spending on a per-person everyone included basis? YIKES!

  • Jacob Smith Feb 1, 2016
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    I agree - and I DO consider myself a conservative - yet you will find many of the "industrialized" nations have some sort of government provided health care that supports ALL - yet, you are correct to say that mnany of them just don't work (Canada?).

    Britain has what I believe to be the BEST system in the world - yet they started just after WWII and probably have one of the largest taxes, %-wise, in the world.

    To make it work here WOULD CERTAINLY take a fundamental change in the tax code.

  • Maurice Pentico Jr. Feb 1, 2016
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    But then you get into the same out of control costs but with unionized health care workers that strike, medicine shortages, medical device shortages, months long waiting lists, and rationing..... there are lots of reasons socialized medicine falls woefully short, and why the wealthy still flock to America for treatment.

  • Jacob Smith Feb 1, 2016
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    You would be WRONG - subsidies ARE NOT income - they are payed to people based on income level from tax dollars and to the best of my knowledge are not accounted for at all on a tax return - except for determining if to little or too much was paid in subsidy based on ACTUAL income at the end of the year..

  • Jacob Smith Feb 1, 2016
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    Except that each year the tax penalty for not buying SOME type of health care goes up exponentially.

    I believe either this year or next it will be $1000 ADDED TO YOUR TAX for not having any type of "approved" healthcare.

    Any "socialized" healthcare system in the world that actually "works" is single payer - no insurance company middle man - the insurance would be national "MEDICARE" open to all ages.

    Yet dems and repubs alike couldn't do this - where would their stock they invested in shortly after signing this law go? Not to mention campaign contributions.

  • Maurice Pentico Jr. Feb 1, 2016
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    BCBS loses money when the people purchasing individual health plans with taxpayer subsidizes are generally in poor health. Those unhealthy people cost the entire health system far FAR more than the premiums will cover. Insurance "works" when the majority of those insured dont use it. So basically, not enough healthy people are purchasing plans they dont need. But that was the whole premise of Obamacare... force millions of healthy people that dont need/want insurance to pay for all the sickly ones that ordinarily could not afford it. Heck, United Health care is considering getting out of Obamacare exchanges because of the losses. Soon there will be talk of taxpayers having to bail out health insurance companies. We pay one way or another.

  • Hamilton Bean Feb 1, 2016
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    I could well be wrong here---and since I'm not involved with the ACA--probably am. But, for all those individuals receiving taxpayer assistance in paying their premiums, is that taxpayer assistance not considered to be "reportable income" for tax purposes???

  • Jacob Smith Feb 1, 2016
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    I continually look t the ACA plans because at 60+ YO I may need one at anytime.

    There ARE plans with lower deductibles - very close to my company policy.

    Yet these plans REALLY thinned out as of 2016 - there are only two each "Gold" and "Silver" plans available through BCBS this year where there were maybe 5 or 6 each last year.

    Worse - there is only ONE "in-network" provider now - Duke and WakeMed. If you want anyone else (such as UNC) you will pay much more.

  • Cathy Blackman Feb 1, 2016
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    Did you notice that 90% of all enrollees received subsidies from the government? Who do you think pays that? But, BCBS is screaming because they're losing money...also, with most of the plans purchased the only thing that was paid out by BCBS or any other carrier was the annual wellness exam pa at 100%. Most of these plans have deductibles so high that the patients are still paying out of pocket. So, how are they losing millions?

  • William Teach Feb 1, 2016
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    Roland, please explain why companies are not allowed to make a profit. I'm not defending the negative behavior of insurance companies, but, they are allowed to make a profit. Unless you're advocating that the govt be authoritative? Do you make a profit in your own job? Do you complain about govt wasting taxpayer money?

    Jacob, Congress added a provision in the latest budget to limit those "risk corridors."

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