On October 1, 2013, early enrollment begins in the North Carolina Health Benefits Exchange. Our exchange will likely start as a partnership between the state and federal government.
This means that in one year people without affordable employer insurance will be able to easily shop and compare plan options online. And, for the first time in our state, no one will be charged more due to their gender or prior medical history. And subsidies will be available for many of those who are not able to afford coverage.
The health exchange in North Carolina will do much more than host a website. It will also maintain a call center and scatter people throughout the state to help consumers navigate our reformed insurance system. It will also, depending on eligibility, help people enroll in Medicaid and other public programs.
The Affordable Care Act was not an overhaul of how we provide health care in the state. Hospitals are still independently operated and most people will continue getting insurance through an employer or a private company. But the changes coming in one year do represent a tremendous step toward protecting consumer rights and providing new access to care.