WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – Residents of southeastern North Carolina won't have as many options in the new health insurance marketplace as most Americans.
Nationally, the vast majority of consumers will have a choice of at least two different health insurance companies - usually more, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Blue Cross Blue Shield is the only insurance company that will offer plans in Bladen, Brunswick, Columbus, New Hanover and Pender counties.
Coventry Health, the only other provider participating in North Carolina, is not offering coverage in the five southeastern counties, a company spokesman confirmed Thursday.
In addition to having fewer choices, new estimates show that North Carolinians could pay more for health insurance than the national average.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, premiums in North Carolina for a mid-range health insurance plan on the health exchange will be $369 a month on average. That price will vary based on where a buyer lives and other details.
The average monthly cost for mid-range coverage across 48 states will be $328 when new health insurance markets start in every state next week.
Costs are lower once tax breaks are applied for those eligible. Individuals making less than about $46,000 a year and families of four earning less than $94,000 a year qualify for subsidies.
More than 1 million North Carolinians are expected to sign up for subsidized health insurance under the new federal law starting Tuesday. The state now has about 1.5 million lacking coverage.
Under the Affordable Care Act, most people will have to buy health insurance or pay a fee.
People who are already covered will be able to keep their current plans.
Copyright 2013 WECT. All rights reserved. AP contributed to this report.
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