Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin wants to remind North Carolinians that starting this week, approximately 215,000 Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina individual policyholders will begin receiving refund checks worth a combined $155.8 million. Pursuant to the September agreement reached with Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin and the Department of Insurance, BCBSNC mailed the first batch of refund checks on November 29 to approximately 50,000 policyholders, and the remainder will be mailed no later than December 8.
"With folks preparing for the year-end holidays and taking care of expenses, I know these refunds will help families across North Carolina,” said Commissioner Goodwin. “I'm pleased that my staff and I were able to work with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina to get this money back into the hands of thousands and thousands of our citizens."The refunds will be issued to policyholders who had Blue Advantage or Blue Options HSA for Individuals policies in force as of March 23, 2010, the date the federal Affordable Care Act was enacted. Customers may receive lower or higher amounts depending on their specific premium rate, but an average policyholder with a monthly premium of about $380 will receive approximately $690.
The new rating and grandfathering rules in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act create a one-time circumstance enabling these refunds. The funds come from active life reserves, which are portions of the premium set aside in the early years of a policy to pay future claims and keep rates stable as customers' medical expenses rise during the life of the policy. However, policies purchased or substantially modified after March 23 of this year will end in 2014 under the new health care reform law, which is when the new products under health reform will be introduced. Therefore, the reserves held for these products will cover a much shorter period of time, allowing for these funds to be released.
Consumers with questions about the refunds, including whether they are eligible to receive a refund, should call BCBSNC's dedicated customer refund line, 1-877-784-2375.
Other insurance premium refunds that Commissioner Goodwin has announced include more than $50 million stemming from the 2009 auto rate settlement; Commissioner Goodwin has also announced potential rate savings for auto and workers compensation policyholders totaling approximately $673 million since 2009.
"I'm very pleased that consumers - North Carolina families and small businesses - have benefited so much by the insurance refunds and rate cuts of more than $800 Million announced during my first two years in office," said Goodwin.Whether during the holidays or not, these monies are certainly an economic stimulus package for North Carolina, courtesy of the dedicated work by your Insurance Commissioner's team.