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News flash: North Carolinians don’t trust their health insurance provider.

But really, who can blame them?

According to a recent poll conducted by Raleigh-based Meredith College, most North Carolinians don’t believe their health insurance provider has their best interest in mind.

For some of you, this might seem obvious. For others, you might be wondering, why? If more Americans have insurance than ever before, why on earth is quality of coverage in question in North Carolina?

Well, according to the poll:

  • Nearly 24% of participants said health insurance companies are more responsible for the rising costs of healthcare than any other part of the healthcare network.

This makes sense, since the payor-provider gap continues to widen, and insurance companies are funneling money to shareholders while the healthcare system is falling apart. While insurers like UnitedHealthcare have seen 28% higher profits since this time last year, health systems like Tenet saw profits fall dramatically compared to the third quarter of 2021. Need we also name-drop the sketchy behavior of our Medicare Advantage insurers? Here’s looking at you, United, Cigna, Humana, and Elevance Health . . .

  • Almost half of those surveyed expressed extreme dissatisfaction with premium costs.

Who can blame them?! Nationwide, healthcare costs continue to rise. And in North Carolina, this fall, a 7.2% rate increase in Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) plans threatened the wellbeing of 414,000 North Carolinians. And again, it’s hard to justify the premium increase when BCBSNC is raking in millions. And if that’s not evidence enough, here’s another sneaky way insurers obscure their profits.

  • North Carolinians are experiencing higher denial rates than the national average, according to a new report from Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF).

Nationwide, in 2020 (during the most unprecedented pandemic our lifetime has ever seen) insurers denied 42 million claims. In North Carolina alone, Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBSNC) denied just shy of 15%, or 2,901,677, of claims in 2020. That’s nearly 3 million North Carolinians who had insurance, went to an in-network provider, and were denied coverage by their insurance company. Thanksgiving might be over, but that’s a pretty big piece of denial pie.

These are just three instances where North Carolinians are getting denied, shortchanged, and downright neglected by their health insurance providers, all in the name of “medical necessity.” “This reinforces a growing trend of health insurers making medical decisions for patients instead of their doctors or caregivers,” according to poll officials.

It stands to wonder, what’s the value of health insurance at all? Because at present, it looks like the plans do little more than pad insurance company pockets.

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