Skip to main content

Ten Years of the Affordable Care Act

By Gary Bolt | March 9, 2020 | Industry Perspectives

image of website

It’s been ten years since the landmark passage of the Affordable Care Act, and six years since the Marketplace opened and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) began selling individual plans on the federal marketplace.

Much has changed the past decade, but one thing has been constant: Our commitment to North Carolinians and their families. Today, we serve more than 435,000 individual ACA members and once again, are the only ACA insurer to offer individual plans in all 100 counties in 2020.

Early Hurdles

While our commitment has never wavered, our Affordable Care Act journey had its share of ups and downs.

During the first three years of the ACA, Blue Cross NC lost more than $450 million dollars on the plans.

Those losses, however, necessitated rate increases—some of which were substantial for members and their families. But while other insurers left the market, we stayed despite these steep losses. It wasn’t an easy decision, but we take seriously our commitment to improving the health and well-being of all North Carolinians. This is our home too, and it’s important that our families, friends, and neighbors have access to the coverage they need.

Learning as We Go

Over the past six years that Blue Cross NC has participated in the ACA marketplace, we’ve gained considerable insight into the market and our customers, allowing us to better coordinate care and reduce the medical expenses for the care they require. We worked directly with members to manage their care, redesigned plans to fit members’ needs and have developed new tools to help keep costs down.

Despite improving our ability to better predict and manage our members’ health needs, heated political debate in Washington over the future of the ACA has threatened the stability of the marketplace.

Fortunately, the state legislature and regulators have fostered some certainty by not adding additional health insurance mandates and regulatory burdens that typically drive up costs. And we continue to make progress on reducing our internal operating expenses.

Turning a Corner

Over the last two years, Blue Cross NC is proud to have reduced average rate individual ACA members—providing some much-needed relief for members after rate increases in the early years.

Through our unwavering commitment to North Carolina and our focus on making health care better, simpler and more affordable, we’ve lowered rates by an average of nearly 10 percent, and reduced health care costs by $350 million.

In It for the Long Haul

Experience is on our side.

The market continues evolving, health needs are changing, and technology is changing the way care is received and delivered—this means we are always learning and improving the ways in which we serve our ACA members.

One thing that will stay the same: we’re here for the long haul for our ACA members and all of North Carolina.