Durham, N.C. – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) and Novant Health will offer a new product, Blue HomeSM with Novant Health, in the Charlotte and Winston-Salem regions. A Blue Home with Novant Health plan can offer up to eight percent rate savings in 2021, compared to a similar 2021 Blue ValueSM plan.
The agreement can reduce health care costs in the Charlotte region by $20 million in 2021, if customers move to this plan. The narrow network plan offers a higher level of clinical integration and is designed to make healthcare more efficient and affordable with a focus on better health outcomes and patient experiences.
Statewide, Blue Cross NC is lowering 2021 Affordable Care Act (ACA) plans offered to individuals by an average of one percent. This is the third straight year that Blue Cross NC has lowered rates – a three-year total reduction since 2018 of over $380 million.
Blue Home with Novant Health will be offered:
- Charlotte-area counties: Mecklenburg, Rowan, Cabarrus, and Union
- Winston-Salem-area counties: Forsyth, Stokes, Davidson, and Yadkin
“Our collaboration with Novant Health is an important part of holding down rate increases for customers in the Charlotte and Winston-Salem areas,” said Tunde Sotunde, President and CEO of Blue Cross NC. “The hard work continues, but great things are possible when providers and insurers are jointly responsible for better, simpler, more affordable care.”
“Novant Health is committed to delivering a remarkable and affordable health care experience to patients and their families,” said Carl Armato, president and CEO of Novant Health. “Blue Home with Novant Health is another way we’re doing our part to keep premiums affordable for North Carolinians, and we are proud to partner with Blue Cross NC on this product.”
Individual premiums will be available in October. Open enrollment for ACA plans begins on November 1, 2020 and ends on December 15, 2020.
A High-Quality Network
The Blue Home with Novant Health network offers:
- A network of hospitals and providers including over 1,600 physicians
- Nearly 700 locations, including Novant Health’s not-for-profit integrated system of 15 medical centers
All doctors outside the Novant Health network are considered out-of-network for Blue Home with Novant Health, including: Atrium Health, CaroMont Health, Cone Health and Wake Forest Baptist Health.
Other Product Updates for ACA Plans in 2021
In 2021, Blue Cross NC will also continue to offer its Blue Value plans in all counties in the Charlotte and Winston-Salem regions. Novant Health will remain in the Blue Value network. Customers in the Winston-Salem area who choose the Blue Home product can expect minor savings, as compared to a similar Blue Value plan.
Blue Cross NC is reintroducing Blue Advantage®, its broad network PPO, for individual customers into the Triangle, Charlotte and Gastonia regions. This product will be available Off-Exchange only in these areas.
Factors Impacting Rates
- Rates vary based on location, age, subsidy amount, and plan. Federal tax credits known as premium subsidies are available for customers with household incomes between 100 and 400 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. About 84 percent of Blue Cross NC current members with individual ACA plans qualify for subsidies this year. Subsidy amounts vary by market, plan and household income.
- Ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic: 2021 rates take into account two unexpected and fluid circumstances—the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and our customers’ deferral of non-urgent care. After many customers deferred care in March through May, a large number have recently resumed elective procedures, which is reflected in a significant increase in our customers’ medical claims for June and July. Many experts, including the Centers for Disease Control, are predicting a spike of COVID-19 cases in the fall. Experts also expect COVID-19 to contribute to a slight increase in customers’ medical costs in 2021. However, we did not include a significant adjustment in our 2021 rates due to COVID-19 costs.
- Emergency room costs: Average rates for Blue Cross NC customers in the Charlotte area will increase in 2021. This is due in large part to higher-than-expected emergency room costs for our Charlotte-area customers in 2020. In the Charlotte area, a Blue Home with Novant Health plan can offer an average rate savings of more than $635 a year before subsidies compared to a similar 2021 Blue Value plan.
See here for more about Blue Cross NC’s current financial outlook during the COVID-19 pandemic, from Blue Cross NC’s chief financial officer, Mitch Perry.
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina:
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) is committed to making health care better, simpler and more affordable. We have been driving better health in North Carolina since 1933, working to tackle our communities’ greatest health challenges. Blue Cross NC serves its customers and communities of more than 3.8 million members, including approximately 1.1 million on behalf of other Blue Plans. Blue Cross NC is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Visit Blue Cross NC online at www.bluecrossnc.com. All other marks are the property of their respective owners.
About Novant Health:
Novant Health is an integrated network of physician clinics, outpatient facilities and hospitals that delivers a seamless and convenient healthcare experience to communities in Virginia, North and South Carolina, and Georgia. The Novant Health network consists of more than 1,600 physicians and over 29,000 employees that provide care at nearly 700 locations, including 15 hospitals and hundreds of outpatient facilities and physician clinics. In 2020, Novant Health was the only healthcare system in North Carolina to be included on Forbes’ Best Employers for Diversity list. Diversity MBA Magazine has also ranked Novant Health third on its 2019 list of “Best Places for Women & Diverse Managers to Work.” Novant Health provided more than $993.2 million in community benefit, including financial assistance and services, in 2019.