Feds say NC near top for insurance market sign-ups
North Carolina ranked near the top for consumers enrolling in health insurance policies on a subsidized marketplace, the Obama administration said Wednesday.
Almost 360,000 people enrolled in a private insurance plan offered on a federally run marketplace over the six-month sign-up period ending in March. The number nearly doubled original projections. Only California, Florida, Texas and New York enrolled more.
More than 90 percent got a subsidy to buy coverage.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services report shows more than 581,000 completed an application and were determined to be eligible for plan enrollment, meaning that 67 percent of those eligible enrolled.
There were about 1.3 million uninsured in North Carolina. Most of them were too poor to qualify for subsidized policies sold on the marketplace and state lawmakers last year opted not to expand Medicaid under the Obama administration's offer to cover the entire expansion cost.
A report this week by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, whose Republican majority has been unfriendly toward the federal health insurance overhaul law, said 74 percent of North Carolina enrollees paid their premiums for coverage by April 15. The average was two-thirds of enrollees coming through with payment in the 34 states that had the federal government run their insurance marketplace. The committee reported collecting the information by asking all 160 insurers offering policies on the federally run exchanges.
Only Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina offered insurance plans statewide on the exchange. The company is still processing payments and believes it's too early to share numbers on how many policies it sold, spokeswoman Ryan Vulcan said. The only other company selling coverage on North Carolina's exchange was Coventry Health Care, a division of industry giant Aetna Inc. A spokesman did not respond to a message Thursday.
Of the 250,000 North Carolina enrollees whose race is known, two-thirds are white, 23 percent are black and 3 percent are Latino, the federal agency's report said.
Twenty-eight percent of those enrolling were between 18 and 34 years old, a prized category of purchasers assumed to be young, healthy and able to offset the risk of ensuring older age groups. The national average for those in the 18-34 age group was also 28 percent.
Emery Dalesio can be reached at http://twitter.com/emerydalesio.
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