NC Health Insurance for the Unemployed

North Carolina, like many other states, is still struggling with high unemployement. Most individuals in our state have relied on their employer for the NC health insurance benefits. Now that so many people are still out of work many are finding that they cannot afford their COBRA health insurance premiums...especially if they have recently lost the COBRA subsidy that was put in place in 2009 with an extension in 2010.

So, where does that leave you?  Well there really are better choices than COBRA to begin with.  Because COBRA only last for up to 18 months it really is only a temporary solution, albeit an expensive one. 

What type of coverage is best for you and your family?  I can't really answer that here as it really is dependent on your current situation.  More times than not I find that a high deductible health plan works the best for folks that are generally healthy and are looking to save on their premiums but still have full catastrophic coverage for hospitalizations and prescriptions.

Sometimes you can save even further with a "Basic" type plan.  These typically limit the number of office visits anywhere from 2-4 times per year depending on the carrier, limit prescription coverage to only generic drugs, but will still offer you great coverage in the event you are hospitalized.  (Note, due to the generic only drug coverage, I personally have a lot of reservations about these.  Some prescriptions can cost $2000-$4000 per month if you happen to be the unlucky one that has to take them you wont be real happy with this plan).

Another option is a short term policy.  These are often very inexpensive and they do not cover office visits, prescription drugs or preexisting conditions.  The only time I find these to be a useful option is if you have guaranteed issue coveage (like an employer plan) starting in the next 3-6 months and you use this as "gap coverage".

You can always give me a call at 704-560-8972 to discuss your options.  This is a free service and I will explain to you all your option or rates.  Or if you would like to just see some of your options, click this link for your North Carolina health insurance quote.


North Carolina Health Savings Account Limits for 2012

As you can see from a lot of my blog posts and my website, I am a pretty big advocation of having a health plan that qualifies for a North Carolina health savings account

Starting January 1, 2012 for High Deductible Health Plans (HDHP) the annual contribution limit for health savings account will increase.  Currently for individuals with self-only coverage enrolled in an HDHP, the maximum annual contribution amount will increase from $3,050 to $3,100.  For individuals with family coverage (2 or more on plan) the contribution limit will increase from $6,150 to $6,250.

No changes are being made as to what defines a HDHP. Currently and into 2012 an HDHP is defined as having an annual dedcutible for self-only coveraeg of at least $1,200 and a $2,400 deductible for family coverage. In addition, for self-only coverage the annual out of pocket (OOP) maximum cannot exceed $6,050 (most carriers cap self-only OOP at $5,000) and $12,100 for family coverage (most carriers cap family OOP at $10,000).

Please review your options for North Carolina health plans and contact us to assist in determining which plan is right for you.

Zero Premium NC Health Insurance Plans

Well I bet the title got your attention!  You must be asking "please tell me more about these zero premium NC health insurance plans!"  Obviously, there is no such thing as a zero premium insurance plan...after all these companies have to bring in revenue to pay for claims. But for some there is a way that you can take advantage of the laws to work for your benefit and pay nothing or have a very reduced rate overall once everything is said and done.  Let me explain by example.

I recently had a prospect call that was looking to change plans and was inquiring about the pros and cons of a North Carolina health savings account. After explaining to him how all this works he decided that this made the most sense for his situation and we applied with a carrier for a $5000 deductible individual HSA qualified plan. Due to excellent health he was awarded best case rates and his monthly premium was $81 per month ($972 Annually). I know you are saying to yourself (and me) this is not a zero premium health plan.  Keep reading....

Lets look at the numbers and some things this guy has working for him.  First, he is self employed so he gets to write off 100% of his health insurance premiums on his taxes.  Because he is a relatively high income earner lets say for this illustration he is in the 25% federal tax bracket.  Also the NC tax bracket would be 7%. In addition, he has also set up his Health Savings Account (HSA) where he plans to contribute the annual maximum of $3,050.  This too is 100% tax deductible.  Here's how his numbers break down:

  • $972 x 32% = $311 in additional tax refund
  • $3,050 HSA contribution x 32% = $976 in additional tax refund
  • $1,287 in additional tax refunds

As you can see he is paying out $972 in annual health premiums but due to the tax laws he is able to increase his tax refund by $1,287.  In this situation he is making money.  In addition, he has $3,050 set aside in a health savings account to pay for over 60% of his annual deductible IF he needed to use it.

This was an example for a single individual. It's important to note that in 2011 if it were a family plan they can contribute up to $6,150 annually to the HSA.

Obviously not everyone will fall under this scenario and be approved at rates like these.  However, this is an example of some of the insights that you can get by working with a qualified NC health insurance agent to make sure that you are aware of all the opportunities out there.

Disclaimer:  I am not an accountant or a CPA.  Please consult with your CPA in regards to your particular situation. 

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