Ellen Beidler: We pay for services

December 13, 2013 

Brad Wilson’s claim (“Why same BCBS policies cost more,” Dec. 7 Point of View) that Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina had to raise rates on its old, pre-ACA, health plans, in part, due to taxes and fees imposed by the ACA sent me to the internet for clarification.

I found the answer on the America’s Health Insurance Plans website. (AHIP is a lobbying organization for health insurance companies, so the website was not the unbiased source I hoped to find.) AHIP referred to analyses by the Congressional Budget Office and management consulting firm Oliver Wyman that estimate the cost of ACA-imposed taxes and fees at 1.9 to 2.3 percent in 2014, far less than the increase in North Carolinians’ BCBS premiums. As the dominant player in North Carolina’s health insurance marketplace, BCBSNC plays a key role in how efficiently the state’s and community health care delivery systems operate.

Insurance premiums might be viewed as “taxes,” in that they support community health care delivery infrastructure. We might think that we paid for nothing if we used no health services covered by our insurance this year. But what we paid helped to keep the local hospitals open and the ambulances running, ready in case we had needed them. Like it or not, we are all in this mess together.

North Carolinians deserve the same transparency and accountability from our insurance companies that we demand from our governmental agencies. Can you imagine the outcry if we paid the governor what an insurance CEO makes?

Ellen Beidler

Raleigh

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