NC agency approves health plans for exchange
North Carolina insurance regulators have approved health plans that will be available to residents under the federal health care law, but they aren't releasing details.
The approvals by the state Department of Insurance advance the plans for possible federal certification, the agency said in a release.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is expected to decide in September which insurance plans can be offered to North Carolina residents through the federal government's online marketplace. In the so-called exchange, set to debut in October, residents can compare coverage terms and prices and then use federal subsidies, if they qualify, to offset the costs of a policy.
Like other Republican-led states opposing the federal law, North Carolina is not running its own exchange, instead leaving that responsibility to the federal government.
Until the federal government posts approved plans, rates, deductibles and other details remain sealed as corporate trade secrets under state law.
Three insurance companies filed a total of more than 60 plans. State regulators won't say how many they approved.
The state agency says coverage will vary by county. Only Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina plans to offer coverage in all 100 counties. The other two insurers with state-approved plans are Coventry Health Care of the Carolinas and First Carolina Care.
More than 1 million residents are expected to sign up for federally subsidized insurance by Jan. 1. That's when the penalty begins to kick in under the federal law for anyone without health coverage.
Officials say the subsidies will average $5,000 a year for those within certain income levels.