Raleigh, N.C. – Despite increasing scrutiny of its management of the state health plan and its role in the debate over health care reform, a plurality of North Carolina voters have a favorable opinion of health insurance company Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) according to a new poll released today by the Civitas Institute.
According to the live caller poll of 600 likely voters, 46 percent of voters had a favorable opinion of Blue Cross Blue Shield while 28 percent had an unfavorable opinion. 24 percent of voters had no opinion either way and two percent had never heard of it.
“BCBS insures 3.7 million North Carolinians and administers the state health plan for state government workers, so its impact in North Carolina is huge,” said Civitas Institute President Francis De Luca. “BCBS has roughly three-fourths of the health insurance market in North Carolina and spent heavily on advertising to maintain this net favorable opinion.”
Favorable ratings for BCBS are consistent across political parties with Democrats having the highest opinion of the insurer with 49 percent favorable. 44 percent of both Republicans and unaffiliated voters are also favorable to BCBS.
The only segment of voters having an unfavorable opinion of BCBS is self-described “very liberals” who are negative by a 37%-34% margin.
Also troubling for the insurance giant must be the statistically even split (44%-41%) of self-employed workers. BCBS has a virtual monopoly on the individual insurance market that many self-insured purchase into.
“The real negative feelings about BCBS seem to be confined to a vocal, but small, minority of left-wing activists that may see private insurers as a hindrance to socialized medicine,” added De Luca. “Ultimately though, BCBS should be thankful that there isn’t more competition in the North Carolina health insurance marketplace from other private insurance companies as these numbers would indicate that there is an opportunity for a competitor to pick up market share.”
The Civitas Poll is the only monthly live-caller poll of critical issues facing North Carolina. For more polling information on Civitas polling see www.nccivitas.org/media/poll-results/.
Full text of questions:
I am going to read you a list of names or organizations, please tell me if have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of each. If you have not heard of them, just say so:
“Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina”
Favorable – 46%
Unfavorable – 28%
No Opinion – 24%
Not Aware – 2%
This poll of 600 likely general election voters in North Carolina was conducted Feb. 15-18 by Tel Opinion Research of Alexandria, Virginia. All respondents were part of a fully representative sample of registered voters in North Carolina. For purposes of this study, voters we interviewed had to have voted in either the 2004, 2006 or 2008 general elections or were newly registered voters since 2008.
The confidence interval associated with a sample of this size is such that: 95 percent of the time, results from 600 interviews (registered voters) will be within +-4% of the “True Values.” True Values refer to the results obtained if it were possible to interview every person in North Carolina who had voted in either the 2004, 2006 or 2008 general elections or were newly registered voters since 2008.