WASHINGTON, DC – Jonathan Gold, Press Secretary at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued the following statement on 2017 North Carolina health insurance rate changes.
“Consumers in North Carolina will continue to have affordable Marketplace options next year. Among Marketplace consumers, most will be able to select a plan for less than $75 per month. Headline rate changes do not reflect what these consumers actually pay because tax credits reduce the cost of coverage below the sticker price and shopping helps consumers find the best deal. Meanwhile, for people in North Carolina with employer coverage, premiums have grown at some of the slowest rates on record since the Affordable Care Act was enacted. All North Carolina consumers, no matter where they get their coverage, are benefiting from ACA protections like no more exclusions for preexisting conditions, no annual limits on coverage, and no cost sharing for preventive services.”
Since the Affordable Care Act became law, health care prices have risen at the lowest rate in 50 years. Premiums for the 150 million Americans with employer-sponsored insurance have grown at some of theslowest rates on record. And, a recent analysis finds that 82% of Marketplace consumers in North Carolina would be able to purchase coverage for less than $75 per month, even if all rates went up double digits.
The Health Insurance Marketplace is designed for affordability. Two important features of the Marketplace protect North Carolina consumers from the impact of rate increases.
Tax credits go up along with premiums. Tax credits are designed to protect consumers from rate increases and keep coverage affordable, increasing by whatever amount the cost of the second-lowest-cost silver, or benchmark plan increases. So if all premiums in North Carolina go up by similar amounts, 91 percent of consumers will not necessarily have to pay more, since tax credits will increase in parallel. Last year, despite headlines projecting double-digit rate increases, the average premium increased just $4 per month for HealthCare.gov consumers with tax credits, and 7 out of 10 Marketplace consumers could purchase 2016 coverage for less than $75 per month. Even if premiums and tax credits rise, the overall cost of the ACA is still below CBO’s original projections. CBO’s recent projections estimate that for 2019 coverage, ACA coverage will cost $49 billion less than originally predicted.
Consumers can shop around to find the best plan. In 2016, consumers could choose among an average of 10 plans per issuer. Variations in provider network and drug formulary makeup from plan to plan can offer consumers meaningful choice. Prior to the Affordable Care Act, it was almost impossible to shop around for health insurance. Not only were many Americans barred from coverage due to pre-existing conditions, but those who did have insurance through the individual market were often trapped in a plan, since people with even small health problems could be denied coverage or charged an exorbitant price if they tried to switch plans. Today, any Marketplace consumer can purchase any plan during open enrollment, and Marketplaces let consumers compare prices, plan designs, and networks to find the best choice for them. Last year, 43 percent of returning North Carolina HealthCare.gov consumers switched plans. They saved an average of $48 per month.Current Marketplace rates are well below initial Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projections.
Independent researchers recently calculated that 2016 Marketplace rates are anywhere between12 percent and 20 percent below what CBO initially predicted.
2017 Marketplace rate increases are subject to a number of predictable upward pressures that will dissipate next year.
The end of the ACA’s temporary reinsurance program in 2016 puts upward pressure on 2017 rate increases that won’t exist for 2018 and beyond.
Evidence suggests that some issuers priced below cost for 2014, reflecting the uncertainties of a new market and a desire to offer strongly competitive initial rates. With two full years of experience, many issuers are making one-time adjustments this year to bring premiums in line with observed costs.
CBO’s projections show that the law is working to cover the uninsured, while costing less than expected. Recent estimates find that the law’s coverage provisions will cost 28 percent less in 2019 than in CBO’s original projections.
Medicaid expansion lowers Marketplace premiums by 7 percent.
In addition to limiting access to coverage for millions of Americans, the decision not to expand Medicaid also has costs for Marketplace consumers, who pay significantly higher premiums than they would if the coverage provisions of the ACA were working together in their state as intended.
Economic analysis finds that Medicaid expansion brings down Marketplace rates by 7 percent, even after controlling for differences across states in demographic characteristics, pre-ACA uninsured rates, health care costs, and state policy decisions.
Marketplace and non-Marketplace consumers are benefiting from slow health care cost growth since the enactment of the ACA.
Since 2010, per-enrollee costs in both public and private health insurance have grown moreslowly than in previous decades – contributing to lower-than-expected costs in the Marketplace.
Ten times as many people are covered by employers as purchase insurance in the Marketplace and the average premium for families with employer-sponsored health plans grew just 3.4 percent in 2016, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation and Health Research and Educational Trust survey, extending a period of unusually slow growth since 2010.
The White House Council of Economic Advisers calculates that the average family premium in North Carolina was $2,400 lower in 2015 than if premiums had grown at the same rate as the pre-ACA decade.
Part of the progress in slowing cost growth is the Administration’s work to develop new,innovative ways of paying for care that align payment with improved outcomes which can help sustain and build on the slowdown in health care costs
This benefits Marketplace consumers as well. CBO has consistently predicted that Marketplace rates would grow faster than employer premiums for the first few years, but then grow at the same pace as employer coverage.
That means Marketplace consumers will also benefit if slow health care cost growth can be sustained and the Marketplace advances in its stability and reaches a steady state.
The Marketplace is providing 545,354 North Carolina consumers with coverage they value, because it improves their access to care and financial security.
Nearly 4 out of 5 Marketplace consumers are very or somewhat satisfied with their health insurance. Importantly, they are just as satisfied with their coverage as people with employer plans.
Marketplace consumers are accessing primary, specialist, and other care they need at rates similar to people with employer coverage and far higher than the uninsured, thanks in part tomoderate cost sharing.
The share of families struggling to pay medical bills fell for all income groups between 2013 and 2015, and fell the most for the moderate-income families most likely to have gained coverage through the Marketplace.
·Only 11.2 percent of people in North Carolina went uninsured in 2015, new Census data show, down from 16.8 percent in 2010. That dramatic drop means 552,000 more North Carolinians had coverage in 2015.
Today, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued its long-awaited final rule on raising the salary threshold under which working people can earn overtime pay. The final rule will double the current salary threshold from $23,660 to $47,476, directly benefiting 12.5 million workers, according to estimates from the Economic Policy Institute. The rule is undoubtedly major progress for workers struggling to support their families at a decent standard of living, and especially for working women in the United States. Continue reading
If you’ve been paying attention to the political news in the past couple of years, you know that the U.S. stands virtually alone in not mandating paid leave of any type for its workers.
It’s hard to miss; the topic has become a top talking point for Democratic politicians. Hillary Clinton is advocating for stronger paid-leave policies on the campaign trail. In her Monday economic address, Clinton called for paid family leave as a way of helping women stay in the workforce. Sen. Bernie Sanders, her closest rival for the Democratic nomination, has advocated both paid vacation and paid maternity leave on the campaign trail. In addition, some cities and states have started instituting their own sick leave policies. Continue reading
I never thought of myself as a donor or a “woman in philanthropy,” as I gifted money to various nonprofits whose mission and values matched my own. My donations seemed small compared to those of donors that I read about in the news who were giving away thousands or millions of dollars to high-profile charity work. It turns out, however, that small donationscanadd up to make a big impact when enough people participate. I was surprised when a house party I hosted in rural Georgia raised $750 from small donations for a statewide equality organization. And more recently, I have seen organizations harness the power of working together to raise awareness and money on issues of affordable housing and homelessness. In October, a large crowd turned out to hear Womansong of Asheville sing a benefit concert for Homeward Bound. Half of ticket revenues went to helping women transition from homelessness to permanent housing. This is philanthropy in action—making change person by person, in small amounts that make a big difference.
Few realize that women give more money to charity than men, proportionate to income. There are still a lot of myths about women donors. Cultural stereotypes suggest that women do not understand or control money or do not want to discuss it. Myths that women will give only from their disposable income, and that women volunteer their time but not their money can deter women from philanthropy. In reality, many women take philanthropy seriously and personally. (Reinventing Fundraising, Shaw-Hardy and Taylor).
Despite stereotypes and myths, women are critical to philanthropy in the U.S.
Did you know that women:
Contribute to twice as many organizations as men do, but make smaller donations to each;
Tend not to base philanthropy on business connections or a desire for public recognition but a desire to make a difference;
Are more likely to be involved with organizations to which they contribute money, while men cherish recognition and status; and
Ask more questions than male donors.
(Reinventing Fundraising, Shaw-Hardy and Taylor).
Women’s approach to giving creates great philanthropic potential and promises a new, emerging donor landscape. If more women give to causes that reflect their beliefs and values, we will transform charitable giving. And if more women give to organizations benefiting women, some basic gender inequities can be addressed (The Giving Forum: Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers. http://www.givingforum.org/ ).
So how can women donors transform philanthropy? Women can contribute to political organizations that influence policy and politics and we can contribute to nonprofit organizations with monthly or annual donations.
One way to make philanthropic giving more personal and to feel the collective impact of smaller donations is through a Giving Circle. “A giving circle is a group of individuals each or whom contributes to a pooled fund. Members decide together how to distribute these funds to nonprofit and charitable organizations. Giving circles increase impact and allow members to learn about philanthropy and causes in a collaborative and non-threatening way. Members often commit to participate for a specific timeframe at an established dollar level. The pooled funds may be held at a public foundation in the form of a donor-advised fund, at a local bank, or by some other nonprofit or commercial entity.” Or a giving circle can be more informal, with members gathering around a potluck dinner each month to discuss how they will make donations as a group for the year (The Giving Forum: Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers. http://www.givingforum.org/).
Once you have raised funds, there are numerous organizations that can use them to improve the lives of women and girls in our community, nationally, and around the world. Below are just a few examples of political and nonprofit organizations that focus on women’s issues:
A charitable gift of any amount to the Women’s Fund helps meet the unmet needs of women and girls of the region. In addition, The Community Foundation’s Women for Women Giving Circle allows donors to commit $1,100 per year for three years with all proceeds going to improve the lives of women and girls in the region. Collectively this fund has distributed more than 2 million dollars to regional programs helping women and girls.
Working transnationally since 1983, HIP has a strong presence in North Carolina with a regional office based in Asheville. Program manager, Althea Gonzalez, focuses on increasing the capacity of Latina/o led nonprofits and strengthening the Latina/o leadership pipeline in the state.
Taking Wall Street banks to trial is necessary for real accountability. As Elizabeth Warren says, trials allow the public to learn the truth and allow regulators to better do their job of protecting the public. We call on you to end your practice of ‘too big for trial.’ Click here for the video
To bring together businesswomen of diverse occupations and to provide opportunities for them to help themselves and others grow personally and professionally through leadership; education, networking support and national recognition. One of the biggest and best benefits of membership is getting together with friends at “regional” conferences where the atmosphere is more intimate and the schedule allows for a full day of ABWA Leadership Training along with professional development and networking opportunities. That won’t change. You’ll still be able to take advantage of all that and more. Website
Office of Women’s Business Ownership – SBA U.S. Small Business Administration
The Office of Women’s Business Ownership’s mission is to establish and oversee a network of Women’s Business Centers (WBCs) throughout the United States and its territories. Through the management and technical assistance provided by the WBCs, entrepreneurs, especially women who are economically or socially disadvantaged, are offered comprehensive training and counseling on a vast array of topics in many languages to help them start and grow their own businesses. Website
The Asheville Branch of the American Association of University Women
The Asheville Branch of the AAUW traces its history from 1915 when sixteen local women college graduates organized what would locally become AAUW Asheville. Its work in Asheville has been ongoing and influential in the community, nation, and world, assisting women through such related projects as refugee relief and improvement of public schools. Its history is replete with names of local women who made significant inroads for women and girls. Website
WomanOwned.com – Business Networks for Women
WomanOwned was formed in 1998, and since then we have provided the information, tools, networking opportunities and advice that have helped hundreds of thousands of women. Women just like you – starting or growing their business. Website
Womencorp is an international company that provides high quality experiential learning programs and leadership development for women in business. We are made up of a team of corporate business leaders and entreprenenurs who have achieved success in the business world. We joined forces for the purpose of helping women in business succeed.Our mission is to help women executives and women business owners to successfully lead profitable businesses that offer valuable products and services that employ more people, positively impact communities and change the world for the better. The “experiential training” for women managers is done through teleseminars, learning workshops, mentoring and coaching. We also offer CDs, books and DVDs as an additional resource. Website
Have you heard the one about the CEO who sits down to eat with two workers, one male and one female? The table holds a plate with twelve cookies. After scooping eleven onto his own plate, the CEO turns to the male worker and says, “Watch out for that woman. She’s going to try to take a bite of your cookie.”
More and more women are demanding their fair share—not through a drop in pay for men, but through changes in how work and family time are valued. The result will be a boon for everyone, except those whose pockets bulge as a result of discrimination. Click to read the article
During my time as a Financial Counselor at Ontrack Financial Education and Counseling, I worked with a very kind and intelligent older woman. I still think of her often. She was distraught and trying to piece her life back together when she came to see me. Several months before she had unwittingly fallen victim to a “Sweetheart Scam” and realized a little too late what had happened.
The mission of the WWBC is to provide capital, high quality technical assistance, and programs that reduce barriers and serve as a catalyst to the success of women entrepreneurs in Western North Carolina.
Mission: The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina inspires philanthropy and mobilizes resources to enrich lives and communities in Western North Carolina.
Vision: The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina’s vision is a vibrant 18-county region where all people can find opportunity and enjoy the region’s many resources.
The Community Foundation is a nonprofit organization established in 1978 to build a permanent pool of charitable capital for the 18 counties of Western North Carolina. We work with individuals, families and corporations to create and manage charitable funds and make grants to nonprofits or public agencies in our region.
We manage $247 million (March 2016) in assets with a long-term investment strategythat permanently protects and grows these funds. In partnership with fundholders, the Foundation has awarded more than $180 million in scholarships to students and grants to nonprofit organizations and public institutions across our 18-county region and beyond.
What We Do
Work with donors to create charitable funds according to their specific interests and needs
Inform donors about critical issues and match them with giving opportunities
Responsibly manage the charitable assets in our care
Make grants and provide support to nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations and public agencies for improving communities in our region
Encourage and participate in community initiatives and partnerships
An Old Evil is Trying to Rear its Ugly Head in North Carolina Again! Payday loans, small loans marketed as a quick, easy way to tide borrowers over until the next payday, come with a very high cost: an annual percentage rate of over 400%.
– Women make over 85 percent of the consumer purchase decisions and influence over 95 percent of total goods and services purchased. Women’s consumer and business spending is fast approaching $8 trillion.
If you haven’t already heard of net neutrality, you must get up to speed. What ultimately happens with the fight for free speech on the Internet will have a direct impact on female representation in our media–and in our culture. Click here for this important article
Because “The 10 Commandments of Money: Survive and Thrive in the New Economy” by Liz Weston, is such a wonderful basic personal finance book, let’s get the few quibbles out of the way. Here’s the big one: The book is not great at helping you figure out what your asset allocation should be…Yet the merits of the book outweigh all this. The New York Times