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Why health insurance is important and what options you have

You never plan to get sick or have a medical condition. So when the unexpected happens, having health insurance can give you peace of mind.

Health insurance also helps you maintain good health. People with health insurance are more likely to stick to routine care or check-ups when something seems a little off.

Here are a few stories from members sharing how health insurance has helped them in times of need:


[TITLE] Health Care in Focus. How Your Health Insurance Company Works for You

People often think of health insurance as a safety net and financial product that helps pay medical bills. And it is. But it's also much more than that.

Health plans help people lead healthy lives, make informed health care decisions and manage chronic conditions. Health plans understand that the health care system can be a complicated, confusing and intimidating place for patients. But disease management programs and a focus on prevention and wellness, health plans are able to identify health risks before patients get sick and help individuals and families get timely care when they need it.

If you are a newly enrolled consumer, plans work hard to make sure you understand how to use your benefits, such as knowing which doctors and hospitals are a network or what your copay is for a procedure. Health plans even have guides, materials and call lines to help you coordinate your care.

For low-income individuals, Medicaid health plans also look beyond medical care to make sure patients have access to affordable housing, transportation, child care, healthy food and other basic needs that affect their health and well-being.

Since each patient has different health needs, there's no cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all approach to health insurance. These are tailored initiatives. Health plans use the latest technology and real-time data to evaluate patients’ health risk and determine which interventions and activities will have the greatest impact on making people well and keeping them that way.

For patients at risk of developing chronic conditions like diabetes and asthma, health plans offer disease management programs that provide patients with things like healthy eating tips, home visits, medication reminders and access to 24-hour nurse hotlines.

With health insurance coverage, patients have access to cost and quality comparison tools that keep them informed and engaged in their care, like calculators that estimate cost of care before seeing a doctor, information about estimated premiums, cost sharing and quality metrics empowers consumers to choose physicians or facilities that will deliver the best care at the best price. Mobile apps allow them to make the right decisions whenever and wherever it's necessary.

Health plans provide more than just an insurance policy. They continue to encourage people who are healthy to stay healthy, help those who are sick manage their conditions and support patients who choose doctors proven to provide high-quality efficient care.

Health insurance options

Here is a breakdown of a variety of options you have when considering an insurance plan. It is essential to consider your specific situation, including employment, health needs for you and your family and finances.

If you would like to speak to someone about particular plans and your needs, feel free to reach out by phone, secure message or chat. You can also contact a local insurance agent.

22 to 25 years old

  • Coverage through your student health plan – Many colleges offer student health plans. It can be an easy and affordable way to get basic coverage. Many times, it’s part of your tuition.
  • Coverage under your parents’ plan – If your parents have insurance, you may be able to stay on their policy until you turn 26.

26 years old or older

  • Medicaid – Medicaid helps low-income children, adults and families get health care coverage. You can apply online, by mail or in person at your local Department of Social Services (DSS).
  • Catastrophic plans – These plans provide coverage protecting you from major health issues. Because of the limited coverage, your monthly premium is lower, and you have a high deductible.
  • Marketplace plans – You can shop for Marketplace plans where you may qualify for tax credits or other savings.
  • Blue Cross NC individual plans – Many of our plans offer coverage statewide and preventive services paid at 100%. You’ll have access to online tools to find doctors and compare health care costs.

Health insurance through your employer

If you work for an employer who offers health insurance as part of their benefits package, this may be your best option. The employer pays a portion of the expense for you.

You will still pay a premium and may have copays or coinsurance. But these plans are attractive because the premiums come out of your paycheck before taxes.

Life happens and situations change

We understand that life happens and situations change. In the health insurance industry, these important life changes are called qualifying life events. When you experience a qualifying life event, you become eligible for a special enrollment period. This allows you to sign up for coverage or update your current plan. It’s your chance to make necessary changes or to choose new or different coverage based on your needs.

Some qualifying life events include:

  • Getting married
  • Having a baby
  • Losing other health coverage due to events like a job loss
  • Moving permanently to a new state. (Note: Temporary moves or temporary changes in location, including long-term stays at hospitals, are not qualifying events.)
  • Turning 26 and losing eligibility for coverage on a parent’s insurance plan

If you’ve experienced a qualifying life event, it’s important to shop for and choose new health insurance right away. Generally, a special enrollment period is only available up to 60 days after the qualifying event. After that, you may not be able to add or update your health insurance coverage until the next open enrollment period begins.

Need help?

We have several options to get your questions answered so you feel confident in selecting the right plan for you.

Visit our contact us page to see your options on how to reach us, find a local agent or contact one of our Blue Cross NC center stores for a one-on-one discussion.

authors photo
James LaCorte
James LaCorte

Social Media Manager

James is a social media manager and has been employed by Blue Cross NC since 2003. He has built his career working in a variety of areas across the company. When not working, you can find him kayaking a local river, photographing a nature scene or running around with his family.

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