Coventry’s Durham-area health plan prices revealed

Sep. 26, 2013 @ 07:07 PM

Coventry Health Care of the Carolinas’ health plans will sell in Durham and nearby counties for between $154.10 a month for a lower-coverage plan for a 25-year-old to $648.14 for a higher-coverage option for a 60-year-old, according to information released by the company Thursday.

Those are actual monthly premiums for plans that the insurer plans to sell on the federal health exchange, which goes live Tuesday as part of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul.

Coventry, part of Aetna Inc. after an acquisition completed in May, is one of two insurers that plan to sell on the exchange in North Carolina. The other is Blue Cross and Blue Shield of the Carolinas.

Health plan costs are expected to vary across the state depending on a variety of factors including age and location.

Federal subsidies -- in the form of tax credits – will be available for people with income levels of between one and four times the federal poverty limit.

Coventry is selling plans in 39 of the state’s 100 counties, including Durham, Chatham, Orange, Alamance and Person, according to an email from Walt Cherniak, a spokesman for Aetna.

In the Durham rating area, Coventry’s lowest-coverage option, also known as the “bronze” plan, is priced at $154.10 a month for a 25-year-old. A 40-year-old would pay $196.15 for that plan, and a 60-year-old would pay $416.55 a month for it.

The insurer’s “gold” plan will cost $239.77 a month for a 25-year-old, $305.20 for a 40-year-old, and $648.14 for a 60-year-old.

Plans on the exchanges will be labeled “bronze,” “silver,” “gold,” and “platinum,” depending on how much they cover in health care costs.

Cherniak said the price information released by the company ia for point-of-service plans, which means that the person’s out-of-pocket costs are less if the customer sees a physician in his or her network

Earlier this week, federal officials released plan price details for the 36 states that will have federally operated exchanges, including North Carolina.

The data released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services showed that the lowest-cost bronze plan for the Durham area for a 25-year-old was within a cent of Coventry’s rate of $154.09. For the bronze plan for a 40-year-old in the area, Coventry matched the lowest at $196.15, and for a 60-year-old, the lowest cost bronze plan was $416.54.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, the other insurer that plans to sell health plans in North Carolina, did not release region-specific data. It released averages earlier this month.

Lew Borman, a spokesman for the insurer, said it’s also “very important” to note that there are other factors in considering a health plan, such as how much access the customer gets through a health plan to a variety of hospitals and providers.

“We remain the only insurer to offer plans in all 100 counties in North Carolina at a variety of price points,” he said in a statement. “In the final analysis, consumers must evaluate plans not only on price, but on the value they are ultimately getting.”