Homebuilders Association forms private health insurance marketpl - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Homebuilders Association forms private health insurance marketplace

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A new private health insurance marketplace will give members of the Wilmington-Cape Fear Homebuilders Association access to lower rates that are generally only available to larger employers, according to the group’s executive officer. A new private health insurance marketplace will give members of the Wilmington-Cape Fear Homebuilders Association access to lower rates that are generally only available to larger employers, according to the group’s executive officer.

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – The Wilmington-Cape Fear Homebuilders Association (WCFHBA) is creating a private health insurance marketplace for its members in response to the Affordable Care Act, the group announced Wednesday.

A press release from the WCFHBA said employers are getting "massive rate increase notices" on their current health plans and many are dropping coverage or requiring employees to share in the cost.

"Obtaining adequate healthcare and insurance has always been a very difficult problem for members of our industry," said Donna Girardot, WCFHBA executive officer, explaining that most of the group's members are small businesses or independent contractors not large enough to get affordable rates on health insurance.

The new private marketplace will let members come together to obtain lower rates that are generally only available to larger employers, she said.

Building contractors and developers can buy health plan on a new small business marketplace set-up by the federal government under the Affordable Care Act, but Girardot said those plans are limited and don't cover certain hospitals, doctors and prescriptions. 

Businesses that participate in the WCFHBA program won't qualify for tax credits they could receive by purchasing plans in the government's marketplace, but Gene Gilford, partner with gbac Association Practice Group – the business setting up private marketplace – said the lower insurance costs should offset the tax credit.  

"This country was founded on the principle that people who have something to sell and people who want to buy something come together in a free market and have an opportunity to make decisions without undue interference by government, and that's exactly what the private marketplace concept is," Gilford said. 

Not only will the private exchange offer health insurance – members will also be able to buy vision, dental, auto, home and pet coverage. 

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