Health Team

Shoppers take wait-and-see approach to insurance marketplace

Posted September 30, 2013
Updated October 1, 2013

In the days and hours before health insurance becomes available to all under the terms of the Affordable Care Act, many consumers were still waiting for some certainty about the type and cost of coverage they could expect.

Beginning Tuesday, North Carolinians without health insurance, or those who currently pay their own way, can compare costs and coverage plans offered by two insurers – Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina and Coventry Health Care of the Carolinas – in an online marketplace called an "exchange."

Enterpreneur Matt Whitley, who is building his own business of custom-prepared juices, hopes to see savings by shopping the exchange. His current Blue Cross Blue Shield policy premium is expected to rise next year, from $205 to $286 per month. 

"To the market place I go," he said.

Whitley said, given his income, that he expects to qualify for some help with the cost. Individuals who make less than about $45,000 would be eligible for a tax credit to help defray the cost of coverage.

Some hope for savings in health care exchange Some hope for savings in health care exchange

Cook Wendell Groce hopes the exchange plans will allow him to finally afford some kind of coverage.

"I was in the hospital a few days ago and they asked me for insurance. I didn't have insurance so I didn't know how to take care of that," he said. 

The exchange is a welcome option for him. "I would love to hear about it," he said.

Duke Law Professor Barak Richman says the exchanges won't change how costly insurance can be.

"The Affordable Care Act does very little to change the cost of health care," he said. Instead, it will force individuals to have a greater understanding of costs they may not have considered. 

"They will recognize how costly insurance is and hopefully recognize that it's not just the reflection of the cost of insurance, it's a reflection of the cost of health care," Richman said.

States had the option of setting up their own exchange or allowing the federal government to do it. North Carolina chose the latter.

Coverage through the exchange-based health plans starts Jan. 1, 2014, when the Affordable Care Act requires that most people have insurance or pay a fine.


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  • akdavis1 Sep 30, 2013

    I didn't believe people coming on here and saying their insurance had gone sky high until today. I got the letter from BCBS that said my premiums will double January 1 2014. What is affordable about that? Thanks Obama and your democrat minions.

  • dontstopnow Sep 30, 2013

    I have absolutely NOO intentions of buying health insurance that is government run. I will pay the penalty and continue to pay my way as I receive medical care if needed. but I prefer natural meds anyway. The kind you grow and not have additives. My Grandmother did it and I do it, Indians had the right idea. When you are so sick you can't continue, just die with dignity. That is my plan. :)

  • mike275132 Sep 30, 2013

    Poor Democrats-

    Barack Hussein Obama is now going to force your to buy Expensive Health Insurance at $300, $400, ..$900 a month or more.

    Enjoy all this Change We Can Believe In !

  • meeper Sep 30, 2013

    Oh my gosh! People don't be dumb!! Socialism doesn't work. Especially in healthcare. Your children and grandchildrens future well being depends on this. Wake Up!! Call your senators! Don't stand on the sidelines!