The Asheville Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina® StoreGet Answers. Be Informed. In Person.
With all the challenges facing employers and individuals, figuring out what options and decisions you need to make on your insurance can be difficult. You need an experienced team who can analyze the numerous options available and narrow them down to ones that fit your needs. The team at WNC Health Insurance / The Asheville Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina® Store is the one for you.
Local agents at WNC Health Insurance / The Asheville Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina® Store work hard to stay current in today’s ever-changing health care arena. Are you single and looking for an affordable individual policy? A small business owner looking for group coverage? Celebrating your 65th birthday and want to learn more about your choices for a Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplement plan? At WNC Health Insurance / The Asheville Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina® Store, we know the most important things for choosing the best North Carolina health insurance for yourself, your family, or your employees are: affordable prices, exceptional service and reliable support from a local agent. Our unwavering commitment to the clients we serve and expertise in the industry means WNC Health Insurance / The Asheville Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina® Store will be a long-lasting partner in creating and maintaining health care coverage for you and the people you care about.
Think you can’t afford health insurance? Think again! Under Health Care Reform, you may qualify for a significant discount on your health insurance. Click here to find out more.
At the WNC Health Insurance / The Asheville Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina® Store you can...
- Get help finding the right BCBSNC health insurance plan for you including:
- Individual and Family Health Insurance Plans
- Medicare Plans including Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplements and Part D Prescription plans
- Dental Plans
- Dental Plans for seniors!
- Group Health Insurance Plans
- Group Dental, Life and Disability Plans
- Talk to an agent about health care reform and how it affects you
- Government subsidies you may qualify for
- Attend one of our several weekly education programs
- Get answers about your policy or bill
WNC Health Insurance / The Asheville Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina® Store was created to offer affordable health insurance and unmatched customer service to North Carolina residents. Founded in 1994 by Josh Williams as Josh Williams Enterprises, Inc., WNC Health Insurance / The Asheville Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina® Store has become one of the most successful health insurance firms in Western North Carolina. Josh attributes the success of WNC Health Insurance / The Asheville Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina® Store to the care for each client on an individual basis. As WNC Health Insurance / The Asheville Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina® Store continues to expand, Josh instills each and every new employee with his "customer care" philosophy as well as his invaluable experience. As health insurance as we know it changes, WNC Health Insurance / The Asheville Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina® Store's knowledgeable agents are committed to helping find the solution that is right for you or your business.Are you a new member? Click here to access our member's page Our Privacy Notice Statement
Come on in and speak to someone face to face; get help deciding on the right insurance plan for you and your family. We are your neighborhood Asheville Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina® Store. Our agents are here to help!Location
WNC Health Insurance / The Asheville Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina® Store
1854 Hendersonville Road, Suite C
Asheville, NC 28803
Walk In Store Hours: 9:00 am – 5:30 pm Monday through Friday
Find Us on Google MapsPhone
828.348.2583 Toll Free 855.395.5552
ACA Enrollment Agents available by phone from 9:00 am – 5:30 pm Monday through Friday
Phone 828.681.8223 Fax 828.681.8224
Group agents are available from 9:00 am – 5:30 pm Monday through Friday
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Health Insurance for Individuals and Families
The health insurance mandate in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was passed into law in March of 2010. This law initially required all people without health insurance, that could afford it, to purchase a health insurance policy by March 31, 2014. If you can afford health insurance but remain uninsured for 3 or more months, you will be assessed a penalty against your taxes. The penalty for remaining uninsured increased in 2015, and is going to be even higher for those who remain uninsured in 2016.
Increasingly stiffer penalties will be assessed each year for those who can afford to buy health insurance yet remain uninsured.
2016 Open Enrollment Starts November 1, 2015 and Ends January 31, 2016!
Open enrollment for NC health insurance plans through the Federal Health Insurance Marketplace begins on November 1, 2015. On November 1, 2015 everyone is able to view new health insurance plans for 2016, enroll in health insurance, and make changes to their existing family or individual insurance plans. The enrollment period will end on January 31, 2016.
Affordable health insurance can be purchased in North Carolina through The Asheville Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina® Store, an independent authorized agency of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina®. We will walk you through enrolling in the Federal Health Insurance Marketplace, help you fill out the forms, and decide on the best insurance plan for you and your family.
If you miss the 3 month Open Enrollment Period for the Federal Health Insurance Marketplace, you will not be able to purchase affordable health insurance in North Carolina, or make changes to your existing health insurance plan, until the next Annual Open Enrollment Period. The only exception to the rule is if you experience a Qualifying Life Event that initiates a Special Enrollment Period.
North Carolina’s Health Insurance Marketplace
The Federal Health Insurance Marketplace provides North Carolinians with access to some of the most affordable health insurance plans available. During the Open Enrollment Periods, or if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period, WNC Health Insurance / The Asheville Blue Cross and Blue FShield of North Carolina® Store can assist you in finding the best health plans under The Affordable Care Act. We are your one stop shop for navigating through North Carolina Health Insurance Marketplace. We are here to help you find the necessary health insurance to secure your family’s insurance needs, at no additional cost to you.
Visit us in person at our store, or call: 828-348-2583 right now!
Affordable Health Insurance Coverage
Concerned about the cost of health insurance premiums in 2016? There are federal subsidies available for some low-income North Carolinians to help pay for the cost of insurance premiums for plans purchased through the NC Health Insurance Marketplace (Healthcare.gov) during Annual Open Enrollment, or a Special Enrollment Period.
All plans that are offered in the Health Insurance Marketplace are required to meet minimal coverage requirements that have been deemed essential benefits by the new health care law.
As of 2014, insurance providers may no longer raise premiums or deny coverage due to a pre-existing condition.
You will see four types on plans on the Health Insurance Marketplace: Bronze (lowest premium with highest out-of-pocket expenses), Silver, Gold, and Platinum (highest premium with lowest out-of-pocket expenses). The cost of health insurance on each of these four plans will vary based on the amount you pay out-of-pocket for medical expenses and the actual amount the plan will pay for.
The Affordable Care Act allowed for some health insurance plans to be grandfathered in, but not all.
To learn about the benefits of purchasing insurance on the new Health Insurance Marketplace, or for more information on how the new healthcare law impacts the insurance plan you have now, call us right now at 828-348-2583.
Insurance Coverage in North Carolina
One of the largest insurance carriers in North Carolina, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina®, or BCBSNC®, offers health insurance plans on the North Carolina Health Insurance Marketplace that meet the requirements set forth by the federal healthcare law.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina® offers subsidized coverage in all 100 counties in North Carolina, through the Federal NC Health Insurance Marketplace (healthcare.gov).
For help in choosing the best health insurance policy in North Carolina, contact WNC Health Insurance / The Asheville Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina® Store today!
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Health Insurance Marketplace for Employers
What is the Health Insurance Marketplace?
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, signed into law in March 2010, required the development of two health insurance exchange programs: 1) a Health Insurance Marketplace for Individuals, and 2) a Health Insurance Marketplace for Businesses.
The Health Insurance Marketplace for Individuals gives those who are not offered health care coverage through their employers (or who opt out of employer sponsored health care coverage) a place to shop for affordable health care plans that meet minimum coverage requirements under the Affordable Care Act.
The Health Insurance Marketplace for Businesses gives small businesses (defined as having less than 50 full time equivalent employees), who would like to offer health care benefits to their employees, a place to shop for reasonably priced employer-sponsored group plans. See: Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) below.
How Does The Health Insurance Marketplace Affect Employers?
100 or More Full Time Equivalent Employees: Under the Employer Shared Responsibility Provisions of the new health care reform law, businesses with 100 or more full time equivalent employees are required to provide health insurance to employees, or else make a "shared responsibility payment" (i.e. pay a penalty). As of 2015, businesses with 100 or more full time equivalent employees must offer health coverage to at least 70% of full time employees. In 2016 and beyond coverage must be offered to at least 95% of full time employees to avoid paying a penalty.
50-99 Full Time Equivalent Employees: Under the Employer Shared Responsibility Provisions of the new health care reform law, businesses with more than 50, but less than 100, full time equivalent employees are required to provide health insurance to employees, or else make a “shared responsibility payment” (i.e. pay a penalty) beginning in 2016. Businesses must offer health coverage to at least 95% of full time employees in 2016 and beyond to avoid paying a penalty.
Do I Have to Offer Health Coverage to My Employees?
The answer to this question will depend largely on your number of full time equivalent employees, and whether they qualify for government insurance subsidies. If you have 50 or more full time equivalent employees, do not offer affordable group health coverage, and at least one employee qualifies to receive health insurance subsidies through the Federal Marketplace, then you will have to make a "shared responsibility payment" (i.e. a pay a penalty).
49 or Fewer Full Time Equivalent Employees: Businesses with 49 or fewer full time equivalent employees are not required to offer health insurance to employees.
Employer Shared Responsibility Provisions: Beginning in 2016, businesses with 50 or more full-time equivalent employees must offer minimum affordable health insurance to their employees and dependents, if at least one employee qualifies for a premium tax credit.
Premium tax credits are government subsidies paid to individuals and families with incomes under 400% off the poverty level who buy insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace. If a business with 50 or more full time equivalent employees has a full-time employee that qualifies for a premium tax credit and does not offer insurance that is both affordable (the employee only share of the premium is less than 9.5% of an employee’s wages) and meets minimum value, the business will be assessed a penalty.
See: U.S. Treasury Department Fact Sheet for Employer Shared Responsibility under ACA for 2015
Employer Shared Responsibility Provisions apply to: For-profit, non-profit and government employers.
What is the definition of a Full Time Equivalent Employee?
A full time employee is one who works 30 hours or more per week. A full time "equivalent" employee = two or more part-time employees whose hours "total" 30 hours or more per week. For example, if you have 49 employees that work 30 hours per week and 2 employees that each work 15 hours per week, you have 50 full time equivalent employees, and may be required to offer health insurance, or pay a penalty.
Volunteers who work for a government or tax-exempt entity are not considered full-time employees. Seasonal workers who work 6 months or less during the year are not generally considered full time employees. On the other hand, teachers and educational employees are NOT to be treated as part-time simply because their school operates on a limited schedule during summer. A calculator to help you determine the number of full time equivalent employees you have on staff is available here.
How do I determine whether or not one of my employees qualifies for a premium tax credit?
There is no way for an employer to determine with 100% accuracy whether employees will qualify for a premium tax credit. Qualification for the tax credit is based on Federal Poverty Guidelines, which take into account personal information an employer is not often privy to, such as the gross income for the family (including income from the spouse), and the number of household dependents (i.e. children or elderly adults). Employees are not required to disclose this private information to employers.
The current threshold set for receiving a premium tax credit is 400% of the Federal poverty level. The maximum qualifying gross income for receiving the credit varies by family size and is updated annually. Guidelines from the previous year are used in determining premium tax credit eligibility for the following year. So the 2015 Federal Poverty Guidelines are used in determining 2016 premium tax credit eligibility.
As of 2015, individuals who make $47,080 or less per year may qualify to receive a premium tax credit in 2016.
As of 2015, a family of four with a gross income of $97,000 or less per year may qualify to receive a premium tax credit in 2016.
How do I know if my group insurance is considered "affordable" and meets "minimum value"?
Under the new Affordable Care Act, if your business offers group insurance to employees, it must be both affordable and meet minimum value. Affordable is defined as premiums that do not exceed 9.5% of the employee’s annual wages. Minimum value is defined as health care plans that cover at least 60% of the total costs of covered services.
Employees who opt out of employer-sponsored plans that are affordable and offer minimum value will not be able to qualify for premium tax credits.
How much will I have to pay if I don’t offer insurance or my insurance doesn't meet the law’s requirements?
Beginning in 2016, businesses with 50 or more full time equivalent employees who do not offer insurance may have to pay an annual Employer Shared Responsibility payment of $2,000 per full-time employee (excluding the first 30 employees), if at least one employee qualifies for premium savings in the Health Insurance Marketplace.
OK. I Have To (or Want To) provide health insurance for my employees. How do I determine which is the best health insurance that I can afford to give them?
WNC Health Insurance / The Asheville Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina® Store is here to offer assistance in selecting the best group health insurance plan for your employees!
What is the difference between the Health Insurance Marketplace and the regular group health insurance that employers currently provide for employees?
Unlike traditional health care plans, the plans offered on the Health Insurance Marketplace must all offer the same minimal essential health benefits. This ensures that everyone who purchases a health care plan through the exchange receives the same quality of coverage. Rather than the type of coverage offered, the difference in price for plans will be based on the amount of medical expenses the plan pays. For example, plans with a lower premium will offer the same minimal essential health benefits as plans with a higher premium, but will require the insured to pay a higher percentage of the overall medical costs out of pocket.
Group health insurance plans offered outside of the Health Insurance Marketplace have traditionally established premiums based on the type of coverage offered, with increased premiums for services such as maternity care.
As of January 2014, all individual and small group health insurance plans, even those not participating in the Health Insurance Marketplace, must offer the following minimal essential health benefits:
- ambulatory patient services
- emergency services
- maternity and newborn care
- mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment
- prescription drugs
- rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices
- laboratory services
- preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management
- pediatric services, including oral and vision care
Can I Keep My Current Business Insurance Provider?
If your business already offers insurance to its employees through an insurance provider, your business and your employees can stay with that insurer. You and your employees are not required to obtain insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace if you are satisfied with your current insurance provider.
Businesses with 50 or more full time equivalent employees will want to ensure that their current insurance is considered affordable (premiums are less than 9.5% of an employee’s annual wages) and meets minimum value (covers 60% of the costs of benefits), to prevent paying a possible penalty in 2016.
If you currently contribute to a portion of the premium for your employees’ insurance through a group plan, and an employee opts to switch to an individual plan offered on the Health Insurance Marketplace, you are not required to contribute to the premium of the new individual plan.
How about small businesses who have 50 or fewer employees?
The Health Care Reform Bill contains several other provisions that impact small businesses and really, all businesses across the board. Two of these provisions are: SHOP, and the Small Business Healthcare Tax Credit.
The Health Insurance Marketplace for Small Business: Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP)
Similar to the individual Health Insurance Marketplace for individuals, The Affordable Care Act requires a special Health Insurance Marketplace just for small businesses. The business Marketplace is known as the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP).
The purpose of SHOP is to allow smaller businesses, which generally pay higher overhead costs for obtaining insurance, to have access to better quality coverage for their employees at lower costs.
The SHOP marketplace is currently open to businesses with up to 50 full time equivalent employees. The program is expected to open to businesses with up to 100 full time equivalent employees in 2016.
How can SHOP benefit my small business?
SHOP is designed to give small businesses the same access to affordable employee coverage as larger businesses have traditionally received. Businesses with 25 or fewer employees may receive an extended Small Business Health Care Tax Credit for up to 50% of the premiums paid for group plans purchased through SHOP.As of 2014, health insurance plans purchased through SHOP: 1) Can’t turn you down based on the health status of employees or their dependents, and 2) Can’t charge you higher premiums for women or increase your group’s premium for employees with high medical costs. These rights do not apply to grandfathered plans.
If you purchase a group plan through SHOP, you must offer coverage to all full-time employees. Business owners who are self-employed, with no employees, are not eligible for coverage through SHOP.
For more information, see: Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP)
Need help purchasing insurance through SHOP? WNC Health Insurance / The Asheville Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina® Store is here to help you find the best health insurance plan for your business!
Small Business Health Care Tax Credit
As part of the health care reform law, small businesses that opt to provide health insurance benefits to their employees may be eligible for an increased Small Business Healthcare Tax Credit to help offset the cost of offering insurance. As of 2014, businesses with fewer than 25 full-time equivalent employees that: pay annual wages of less than $50,000 per employee; contribute 50% or more towards the employee’s self-only health insurance premiums; and participate in the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) may be eligible to claim a 50% tax credit.
How do I get more details about the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit?
Additional information to help you determine whether your small business qualifies for the tax credit, and how much you can expect to receive, is available on the irs.gov website
What Other Provisions in the Health Care Bill Affect My Business?If your business offers insurance, you must provide your employees with a Summary of Benefits Coverage (SBC) that discloses what their current insurance plan covers and costs.
If your business offers insurance and your insurer does not spend at least 80% of premium dollars on medical care, you will receive a premium rebate. Businesses that contribute to their employees’ insurance premiums as part of a group health plan may treat the rebate as a plan asset, and use their discretion to determine a fair allocation of the rebate.
As of January 1, 2014, employees who are eligible for employer-provided health insurance coverage may not be made to wait more than 90 days to begin coverage.
WNC Health Insurance / The Asheville Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina® Store is here to offer assistance in selecting the best health insurance options for you and your employees! Call us now or visit us at our new retail store!
— The information contained within this webpage is not to be construed as legal advice and is subject to change. —
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For North Carolina beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare Part B
Choose the plan that’s right for you
See the doctor you want
Control of your care
Savings and peace of mind
Medicare only covers some of your medical costs. That’s why Blue Cross® and Blue Shield® of North Carolina (BCBSNC) offers dependable Medicare supplement plans for Medicare beneficiaries, to help lessen the worries over costs that Medicare doesn't cover. Choose from our 111 Blue Medicare Supplementsm plans to find the plan that best fits your needs and your budget.
- Wide selection of plans
- Protection against unexpected events
A local company you can trust2
BCBSNC serves more than 160,0003 North Carolina Medicare beneficiaries with over 80 years of experience in the health care industry.
- One of the most trusted Medicare supplement plans in the state2
See the doctor you want
No matter which Blue Medicare Supplement plan you choose, you’re free to select your own Medicare-participating doctor or visit any Medicare-participating hospital. In most cases, your Part A and Part B Medicare claims and supplement claims are handled automatically by BCBSNC.
- Choice of Medicare-participating doctors
- Easy to use, virtually no claims to file
Blue365® Discount Program
Enroll in a Blue Medicare Supplement plan and get savings on a variety of products and services that can help you live a more healthy and active lifestyle – all at a discounted cost4. Save on services such as:
- Vision Services
- Laser Eye Surgery
- Medical Bracelets
- Healthy Eating
- Hearing Aids
Silver&Fit® A New Fitness Program
Starting June 1, 2015, Blue Medicare Supplement is now offering an exercise and healthy aging program7. Questions about the program can be answered by calling 1-877-764-2746 (TTY/TDD 1-877-710-2746), Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. EST
No waiting periods
If you enroll early, you may be eligible for this plan without waiting periods for pre-existing conditions. Pre-existing conditions are conditions for which medical advice was given or treatment was recommended by or received from a physician within six months before the effective date of coverage. If you wait until after the deadline to enroll, you may have a waiting period for pre-existing conditions.
- No waiting periods for pre-existing conditions
Guaranteed acceptance by enrolling early
You cannot be turned down for Blue Medicare Supplement and may not have to complete a medical questionnaire if you meet the following:
- You are age 65 or older, or under age 65 and are eligible for Medicare by reason of disability (Plans A and C, 6)
- You enroll within 6 months of enrolling in Medicare Part B
- You are not covered by certain Medicaid programs
- You are a resident of North Carolina
For more information about Blue Medicare Supplement plans, including a free rate quote, call Marcie Dicus at 828-348-2583, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
For costs and further details of the coverage, including exclusions, any reductions or limitations and terms under which the policy may be continued in force, contact your agent or the company.
1 Plan A: BMS A, 11/13, Plan B: BMS B, 11/13, Plan C: BMS C, 11/13, Plan D: BMS D, 11/13, Plan F: BMS F, 11/13, HI DED Plan F: BMS HDF, 11/13, Plan G: BMS G, 11/13, Plan K: BMS K, 11/13, Plan L: BMS L, 11/13, Plan M: BMS M, 11/13, Plan N: BMS N, 11/13
2 BCBSNC Brand Tracking Study; Prophet; March 2013
3 Based on Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) enrollment data, January 2015.
4 Blue365 offers access to savings on items that Members may purchase directly from independent vendors, which are different from items that are covered under the policies with BCBSNC. Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) may receive payments from Blue365 vendors. Neither BCBSNC nor BCBSA recommends, endorses, warrants or guarantees any specific Blue365 vendor or item. This program may be modified or discontinued at any time without prior notice.
5 The Silver&Fit® program is a value-added service that is provided by American Specialty Health Fitness, Inc. (ASH Fitness), a subsidiary of American Specialty Health Incorporated (ASH) to members of BCBSNC’s Blue Medicare Supplement plans. The program is not part of a member’s policy or benefits, and may be changed or discontinued at any time. Additional fees may apply and results are not guaranteed. You should consult with your doctor before taking part in a fitness program. All programs and services are not available in all areas. Silver&Fit and the Silver&Fit logo are trademarks of ASH and are used with permission herein.
6 Guaranteed acceptance is limited to (Plans A and C) for those under age 65 who have Medicare due to disability.
CAUTION: POLICY BENEFITS ARE LIMITED TO THOSE APPROVED BY MEDICARE FOR PAYMENT.
WNC Health Insurance / The Asheville Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina® Store is an independent authorized Agency licensed to sell and promote products from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC). The content contained in this site is maintained by WNC Health Insurance / The Asheville Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina® Store . Neither BCBSNC nor its agents are connected with or endorsed by the United States government or the federal Medicare program.
BLUE CROSS®, BLUE SHIELD® and the Cross and Shield Symbols are registered service marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans. All other marks are property of their respective owners. BCBSNC is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.
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© 1994 - WNC Health Insurance / The Asheville Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina® Store is an independent agency licensed to sell and promote products from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina® (BCBSNC). The content contained in this site is maintained by WNC Health Insurance / The Asheville Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina® Store. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina® is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. SM, ® Marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association U9210 / 5/2013. Privacy Notice Statement