When the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed in 2010, it required Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota and other insurance companies to make changes to become compliant with the health reform law. As a result of some of the changes, we discontinued some 2014 plans no longer allowed by the law. Recent announcements by President Barack Obama and the North Dakota Insurance Department created the possibility for these discontinued plans to be continued in 2014.
Our top concern was the impact on our members. We broke it down into long-term and short-term impacts, and weighed many factors. How would premiums be affected? Would this create financial risks for our members? How would this impact the health insurance marketplace in North Dakota?
We found that it isn’t in our members’ best interest to continue the discontinued plans. Making such a big change this late in the game would lead to higher premiums in North Dakota in 2014 and beyond. We believe doing so would shift costs from one group of members to others, creating additional market uncertainty and exposing our members to new financial risks.
So, we have decided to discontinue plans in 2014 that don’t meet ACA requirements.
This decision directly affects the coverage of roughly 7 percent of our members. About half of them will likely find greater benefits from plans that meet ACA requirements instead of their current plan.
We have and will continue to reach out to affected members to help them find the best coverage options to meet their needs. Those on plans that will change have received or will receive letters informing them that their current plan will be discontinued and letting them know their options.
As health care reform continues to evolve, we are committed to providing our members with quality health insurance, along with the protection and customer service North Dakotans have come to expect from us. We are a nonprofit North Dakota company governed by a board of directors elected by our members. Our members are at the heart of everything we do. We work hard every day to provide our members with the best possible quality and affordable coverage.
We are here to answer your questions. You can either leave a comment on this post or on our Facebook page. Members can also call our customer service folks at 1-800-342-4718 for more info.
Ryan Schuster is an editor in the Communications department at Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota.