• Lack of competition results in higher health care rates

    By: Tenikka Smith



    North Carolina has an average of 22 health insurance plans under The Affordable Care Act for people to choose from with 28 choices for those in Charlotte.

    Plans vary by prices and are categorized as bronze, silver and gold ranging from the least to most protective.

    A 27-year-old who makes $25,000 per year will pay $77 per month for the lowest-cost bronze plan and $145 per month for the second-lowest-cost silver plan, after tax credits, according to the Department of Health & Human services in the Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill.

    A family of four with an income of $50,000 per year will pay $36 a month for the lowest bronze plan.

    North Carolina's lack of competition is the main reason rates in the marketplace aren't as low as some other states, said Don Jonas. Jonas is a Queens University professor and executive director of Care Ring, an agency that helps the uninsured get access to healthcare.

    "We have Blue Cross Blue Shield across the state and in some parts of the state Coventry is available but we're not seeing three, four, five insurers come forward with qualifying plans that you would hope would drive the prices down on some of the plans in North Carolina," Jonas said.

    While the debate over the system dubbed "Obamacare" continues, Jonas said the new health insurance market does open the door for at least 80,000 people in Mecklenburg County to finally have some sort of coverage.

    "I think it is a good thing," he said. "I think the great challenge is how do we afford it? How do we provide resources so people can get access to this system?"

    People who have insurance offered by major employers should not see their rates go up because of the new marketplace, he said.

    Everyone can expect insurance rates to go up as they do each year because of rising costs of healthcare.
    You can check rates based on your age and location with the interactive insurance marketplace database by clicking here.

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