N.C. Will Extend Canceled Policies, But They’ll See Up to a 24 Percent Rate Hike

by Sterling Beard

There’s some good news and bad news for North Carolinians who had their health policies canceled because of Obamacare: Last week, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina said it would extend those plans for another year — but rates on those plans will rise up to 24 percent.

That’s double the price hikes those plans saw last year, though the North Carolina Department of Insurance could order Blue Cross to issue refunds if it determines they’re too high.

Blue Cross — the only N.C. company so far to agree to extend its canceled policies — canceled over 151,000 individual plans, affecting more than 230,000 people. Letters mailed out to those with canceled policies included premiums for new plans that are in line with Obamacare regulations, but some customers saw their rates doubling and tripling in the new plans.

One Charlotte man, George Schwab, told the Charlotte Observer he’s relieved about the extension but not terribly thrilled by the price bump.

The 62-year-old retiree was among those who had his plan, which only cost $228 monthly, canceled. The cost for a similar plan for him and his wife, offered by Blue Cross, that met Obamacare’s regulations was $1,208 per month. When he tried shopping on the federal health-care exchange, he found a similar policy for $958 — only four times as expensive as his canceled policy.

“I want it back not just for a year, not just until after the election,” he said. “They should be reinstated until the people that have them decide they don’t want them anymore,” Schwab said, castigating President Obama for his promise that people could keep their health plans.

“I don’t know whether he knew [that wasn't true] or not. But he did say it, so he should stick to it,” Schwab said.

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