On Monday, Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) of North Carolina announced it is requesting a decrease in rates for plans on the North Carolina Obamacare Exchange.
As reported by the Charlotte Observer:
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina said Tuesday it requested an average 4.1 percent decrease among ACA plans, also known as Obamacare, that are offered to individuals. The N.C. Department of Insurance will need to approve rate changes.
This rate decrease request is the first time BCBS has made such a request in North Carolina, since the implementation of the Obamacare (Affordable Care Act; ACA) Exchange in 2014.
The big question is “why?”
BCBS cites several factors, but two of them are related to a lighter tax burden on the company.
According to BCBS:
- Blue Cross NC used tax savings from the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to lower rates by an additional 0.5 percent.
- Congress’ one-year suspension of the ACA’s Health Insurer Tax (HIT) for 2019 helped lower rates by an additional 3 percent. Rates for 2020 will need to be approximately 3 percent higher unless Congress extends the suspension or ends this tax altogether.
It remains to be seen whether progressive lawmakers will view this consumer savings as “crumbs” or the beginning of the End of Days. However, for consumers that have seen multiple years of rate increases on the Obamacare Exchange, this decrease will be welcome news.