There are numerous reasonably priced health insurance options available in North Carolina. Most of the plans available have the option to add on dental and vision insurance to round out your coverage. With the lowest-priced health insurance plans starting as low as $350 per month, dental add-ons running as low as $53 per month, and vision plans starting at $12 per month, you’re sure to find a plan that works for you. While coverage and costs vary depending on your age, location, household size, and more, the average monthly price for a comprehensive health insurance plan for residents of North Carolina is $513, but some residents are actually eligible for free plans.
North Carolina Health Insurance Companies
North Carolina has plenty of health insurance company options. Three of the biggest companies offering local plans are:
For the management of its Marketplace products in all 100 counties in North Carolina, WellCare has joined forces with its affiliate Celtic Insurance Company, Inc. and the Multiplan, Inc. provider network.
Friday Health Plans
Friday, which has been operating since 2015, is a new company compared to the others, but they have quickly become a popular choice. With most of their plans including free primary care visits, free mental health visits, telehealth visits, and even vision coverage, they are an attractive choice for affordable, full-coverage plans.
They offer several options for Bronze, Silver, and Gold plans, as well as catastrophic plans.
Ambetter of North Carolina
Ambetter is another popular choice for affordable health insurance in North Carolina. Along with their variety of HMO plans, some including HSAs and dental or vision coverage, they have several other benefits for their members:
- MyHealthPays – A reward program for completing healthcare goals
- Healthcare management programs
- Start Smart for Your Baby – A resource to help expecting mothers and new parents
- 24/7 nurse lines
Health Insurance Marketplace in North Carolina
If you’re looking for health insurance in North Carolina, the health insurance Marketplace is a great place to start. Marketplace health insurance, which was created by the Affordable Care Act, offers certain consumer protections, guarantees coverage for pre-existing conditions, and includes coverage for what are known as the “10 essential health benefits”:
- Ambulatory patient services (outpatient care)
- Emergency services
- Pregnancy, maternity, and newborn care (both before and after birth)
- Mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment (including counseling and psychotherapy)
- Prescription drugs
- Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices
- Laboratory services
- Preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management
- Pediatric services, including oral and vision care (but adult dental and vision coverage aren’t essential health benefits)
The ACA-compliant plans offered on the Marketplace are divided into different types, known as metal tiers: Bronze, Silver, and Gold. These tiers do not signal a difference in quality of care, though. The tiers differ in your out-of-pocket costs versus what your plan covers.
It’s important to remember that the Marketplace only offers the plans of participating providers. So unfortunately, while the Marketplace is a great tool, you may not be able to compare every plan available to you.
Whether you want a Marketplace plan, or a plan from a private insurer, an EZ agent can help. We work with all carriers in your state to compare all available options.
Over half of the uninsured in North Carolina who qualify for Marketplace insurance coverage could get a Bronze plan for FREE.
North Carolina’s Short-Term Health Insurance Guidelines
If you’ve missed the health insurance Open Enrollment Period (OEP), or if you need health insurance for a short amount of time, short-term plans are a great option. It’s important to note, though, that these policies tend to only cover the basics, and you can be denied one of these plans if you have a pre-existing condition.
There are some rules around short-term plans, both at the federal and the state level. Some states choose to have their own guidelines separate from federal guidelines, or to not offer short-term plans at all, but North Carolina has chosen to follow federal guidelines. That means you can purchase a plan for an initial term of 364 days. You can then renew your plan up to 3 times, giving you a maximum of 3 years of coverage. You also have the option to buy a new short-term plan once your original one has expired.
North Carolina Health Insurance Resources
When it comes to finding health insurance, you have access to a variety of resources that can make obtaining coverage simpler. You can use resources like insurance company websites, your employer, and the government.
Buy directly – If you already know which insurance carrier you want to work with, you can check out their website to research and compare their individual policies before making a direct purchase. This is only useful if you are certain that they have the best option for you, because they will only show you the plans that they offer.
Talk to your employer – While employers in North Carolina are not required to offer health insurance to their employees, most employers offer a group health plan that their staff members can join. You can check with your HR department about the options available and how much plans cost.
Check your eligibility for government assistance programs – Government-sponsored programs like Medicare and Medicaid are available to assist people who need affordable coverage the most. Medicare is available to anyone who is 65 years of age or older, as well as to adults between the ages of 18 and 65 who have a qualifying disability. The health services that are covered by Medicare’s low-cost plans are extensive. Low-income individuals and families are eligible for Medicaid. If you meet certain criteria, you can get a free plan.
Even though all of the above are excellent ways to start your search, they all have drawbacks. For example, having limited options or having to meet certain eligibility standards. But there is an even better resource available to you: an insurance agent. Your EZ agent will ensure that the plan you choose is indeed the most affordable and includes everything you specifically need. EZ agents can compare every option available across all platforms, including those that are financed by the government.
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How to Get the Most Savings
Healthcare is comparatively affordable in North Carolina. In fact, North Carolina is ranked 23rd out of the 50 states for healthcare per capita. Healthcare expenses per person are approximately $8,607, but there are some things you can do to lower your overall healthcare costs. Take a look at the following factors that affect your premiums:
- Smoking – If you’re among the 14.4% of adults in North Carolina who smoke, you could end up paying 50% more for your premiums. You’ll also improve your overall health if you quit!
- Body mass index (BMI) -You have a higher chance of developing health issues like diabetes and heart disease if your BMI is high, so insurance companies will consider you a higher risk to insure. That means if you’re among the 34% of North Carolinians who are considered obese, you’ll probably pay more for your insurance.
- Location – Your premiums are influenced by where you live due to differences in the cost of living, local legislation, and accessibility of services. The three counties with the cheapest health insurance options are Alamance, Alexander, and Allegheny.
It can take a lot of time and effort to find the best plan for you and your family. But you can quickly and easily get all of your health insurance options presented to you by an EZ agent. In a matter of minutes, EZ health insurance agents can compare your needs with the budget-friendly plans that are out there and add any local discounts that could be available to you.
In fact, by working with an EZ agent, you can reduce your annual health insurance expenses by hundreds of dollars. The fact that all of our services are free and without obligation is even more savings! Start saving more money right away – you don’t have to do this alone.
North Carolina Health Insurance FAQS
Does North Carolina require you to have health insurance?
Currently, there is no health insurance mandate in North Carolina.
What is the cheapest health insurance in North Carolina?
The cheapest health plan will be a Bronze Plan, which can start as low as $350 a month. Remember, though, health insurance plan prices can vary depending on age, zip code, gender, and other factors.
How much does health insurance cost in North Carolina?
The average monthly premium for health insurance in North Carolina is $513, or $6,156 per year. With plans as low as $350 a month to as high as $1,480. But do not let these numbers scare you. More than half of uninsured people in North Carolina qualify for a $0 Bronze plan and don’t even know it.
Which insurers offer plans in North Carolina?
The top 10 insurers in North Carolina are Aetna/CVS Health, Ambetter of North Carolina, AmeriHealth Caritas, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, Bright Health of North Carolina, Cigna HealthCare of North Carolina, Celtic, Friday Health Plans, Oscar Health Plan of NC, and UnitedHealthCare of North Carolina.
How to Enroll in Health Insurance in North Carolina
You can enroll in health insurance through the federal Health Insurance Marketplace. Or you can choose to purchase your own coverage directly from an insurance company. You can also speak to your employer about group plan options.
However, you choose to enroll, you can get assistance from an EZ agent. We will discuss your financial and medical requirements, as well as any subsidies you may be eligible for. We will compare all of the health insurance plans on and off the Marketplace. And after going over your information and discussing your options with you, we will help you complete the enrollment process.
If you still have questions, feel free to give us a call at 877-670-3557. When you call, you will be directly connected to a local insurance agent who can answer all of your questions and help you find the health insurance plan that works best for you.