From an editorial Thursday in the (Raleigh) News & Observer:
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina has been having a rough go of it lately, with a computer change causing tremendous headaches for consumers and the costs of the Affordable Care Act seeming to catch the company by surprise, producing heavy losses. Certainly there’s blame to be shared.
But BCBS has issued some thoughts on how to improve the ACA:
1. Not allowing sign-ups outside open enrollment periods, because that leads people to sign on when they’re sick, get covered and then drop out when they’re cured.
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2. Tightening the ACA mandate that people get insurance. Letting people avoid it affects the costs to individuals and insurance companies.
3. Cutting the grace period for people to pay their premiums. Now it’s 90 days, and insurers have to cover costs for 30 days in which premiums aren’t paid.
4. Having the government pay into funds that compensate insurance companies for their losses to help stabilize the market. Blue Cross’s losses – $400 million in 2014 – were in part caused by the government’s failure to fully pay to help cover losses, even though that was part of the ACA plan.
These are sound ideas aimed at ensuring coverage and preserving the ACA, not ending it. The company’s recommendations deserve consideration.