Health Insurance

Laptop computer
Ian Usher / Flickr

Universities across the country have made it clear that providing health coverage for temporary employees -- like adjunct professors and grad students -- is prohibitively expensive. / US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid


Two different interpretations of the Affordable Care Act have raised questions about whether some states can give out subsidies to help people pay for health insurance. 

The D.C. Circuit Court ruled yesterday that subsidies are illegal in states that did not set up their own insurance exchanges. North Carolina is one of those states. 

Then, hours later, the 4th Circuit Court said they are legal.

Host Frank Stasio talks with Duke University law professor Neil Siegel about what the rulings mean for North Carolina.

Kay Hagan 7.18.14
Katelyn Ferral

Democratic U.S. Senator Kay Hagan was in Raleigh Friday afternoon to discuss a bill she and others have introduced in the U.S. Senate that seeks to restore womens' access to employer-covered contraception. The bill was defeated this week but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says he plans to bring it up later this year.

When Hagan was asked what she thinks of the North Carolina General Assembly's late efforts to put together a budget for this fiscal year, she was quick to bring up her own record as a former state senator: logo


The deadline for signing up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act is just around the corner. By Monday March 31st, the Obama administration hopes that 6 million Americans will have begun the process of enrollment. 

Community Care of North Carolina

North Carolina is enrolling more uninsured people than any other state that refused to set up its own health care exchange under the Affordable Care Act.

Health care policy director Adam Searing of the NC Justice Center says the state-run Medicaid system, Community Care, has made a big difference.

The state has encouraged social and health services to cooperate to provide Medicaid patients solid care up front, and now friends and family members who don't qualify for Medicaid have affordable options and guidance for enrolling in private healthcare.

a pharmicist
NC Department of Health and Human Services

At least two private health insurance exchanges will soon be launching in North Carolina. 

The NC Chamber and a company called Digital Benefit Advisors are opening websites next month that will act as private marketplaces for health insurance.  Leaders for both organizations say they're designed for employees of companies that might be scaling back their insurance policies.

North Carolina Chamber COO Jim Simpson says the idea is to encourage competition and decrease the cost of insurance.

HealthServe is closing in Greensboro this week and 20,000 people will have to find a medical provider elsewhere.

North Carolina is asking local health departments to work with people hired to give information about the Affordable Care Act. 

The Department of Health and Human Services sent a letter to every county last week, encouraging them to work with so-called health care navigators.  The federal government gave out about $3 million in grants to non-profits, hospitals and volunteers to hire navigators last month.

Duke Energy provides electricity for most of North Carolina since the 2012 merger.
Duke Energy

Duke Energy is dropping its practice of paying for retirees' health benefits.  The country's largest utility joins companies like IBM, General Electric and Time Warner in the policy change.

 Instead of covering insurance for more than 14,000 retirees, Duke Energy will give them a yearly stipend.  Retirees can use that payment to buy their own coverage.  Dave Scanzoni is a company spokesman.

US Census
US Census Bureau

The latest Census report shows North Carolina continues a slow crawl out of the economic downturn.

In 2012, more people lived below the poverty level in North Carolina than they did the year before.  The Census Bureau’s American Community Survey shows 18% of North Carolinians live in poverty compared to about 16% nationally.

Ed Welniak heads the Income Statistics branch of the Census Bureau.

Blue Cross Blue Shield NC campus.
Blue Cross Blue Shield NC

Insurance provider BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina is expanding retail locations as the federal government prepares to launch the state's health care exchange.