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Affordable Care Act Update and the NC Bar Association Health Plan

by William Stroud |

With the opening of the federal health insurance exchanges, it may be a good time to compare your law firm health insurance rates with the NC Bar Association Health Benefit Trust.

We are in a rolling 12 month period when individuals and small businesses will be receiving their 2014 health insurance renewal premium notices.

The insurance rate reforms taking effect in 2014 will bring about widespread premium shock. Currently, costs can differ broadly based on age, gender and health conditions.  As a self-funded plan, the NC Bar Association Health Benefit Trust is not subject to the new rules governing rating and premiums and will continue with its current rating structure.

The NC Bar Association Health Benefit Trust has had an opportunity to compare 2014 rates in the individual and small business insurance market.  In most cases, traditional health insurance customers can expect to see rates 10-50% higher than those in the NC Bar Association Health Benefit Trust.  The Health Benefit Trust’s rate structure will remain unchanged, and our customers can expect to see normal rate increases along the lines of medical inflation.

The new rules have also caused changes to the plans available in the insurance market.  Generally speaking, there are fewer options with higher out-of-pocket expenses at a higher premium cost.  At the 2014 renewal, virtually every firm’s health insurance plan will change to some degree.  The plans of the Health Benefit Trust should remain relatively unchanged.

Another change that will affect some folks unfavorably is the way premium is calculated for the family unit.  The Health Benefit Trust will retain its tiered system with different premiums for Employee Only, Employee Spouse, Employee Child(ren) and Employee Family.  This structure does not charge premium on a per capita basis, and in fact, these tiers charge the same premium whether a family has one child or ten.  The new insurance system is on a per capita basis, so that larger families will be hit especially hard.

Please check to see when your firm’s 2014 health insurance renewal will occur, and make a note to compare rates with the NC Bar Association Health Benefit Trust.  With the magnitude of change that’s coming, it might be wise to get an early start this year.

For a quote from the NC Bar Association plan, contact Delores Hunter at dhunter@lawyersmutualnc.com or call us at 800-662-8843.  If you have other questions about our plan or the impact of health reform on your firm, you can contact me at wstroud@lawyersmutualnc.com.

William Stroud is President of Lawyers Insurance and has managed the NC Bar Association Health Benefit Trust since its inception in 2002.