FirstCarolinaCare withdraws application

Staff Report

September 18, 2013

In a communication to the North Carolina Department of Insurance, FirstCarolinaCare Insurance Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of FirstHealth of the Carolinas, announced this week that it is reluctantly withdrawing its application to participate in the Federal Health Insurance Exchange, also called the “Marketplace.”

“This was not a step taken lightly,” said Kenneth J. Lewis, president of FirstCarolinaCare Insurance Company. “When we originally proposed participation in the Exchange, we recognized that there were many unknowns for all of us. However, after months of review, there continue to be uncertainties in the Exchange implementation and processes for insurers. After further assessment of the uncertainties related to the Exchange and consideration of our overall business strategy, we reluctantly came to the conclusion to withdraw our application to participate in the Exchange.”

Participation in the Exchange would have been the first time FirstCarolinaCare sold to individuals rather than to groups.

“FirstCarolinaCare proposed participation in the Exchange to initially ensure coverage options for our local community,” said Lewis. “Despite our withdrawal from the Exchange, we believe our community will have viable options for individual insurance coverage.”

The Pinehurst-based insurance company proposed 16 plans to sell in the Federal Health Insurance Exchange and intended to offer the plans in its six-county service area of Moore, Richmond, Montgomery, Hoke, Scotland and Lee counties.

FirstCarolinaCare was the first in the state to release its premium rates for the insurance plans it proposed to sell on the Exchange.

“Transparency is important to us,” said Lewis. “Although we were unsure of the competitiveness of our proposed rates, we felt it was important to share the information as soon as possible. The earlier we could share information about our proposed plans, the earlier people living in our community could begin to take an interest in the Exchange process.”

FirstCarolinaCare will continue to serve its large and small business customers and will continue to offer a Medicare Advantage product for Medicare-eligible individuals in Moore, Montgomery, Richmond, Hoke, Lee and Scotland counties.

“Our goal for 2014 is to continue to focus our efforts on improving the health of our community and provide coverage options where we can be competitive and add the most value to the market,” said Lewis. “The individual marketplace landscape will undoubtedly change in the coming months, and we will re-evaluate our decision next year to determine if it will be a more competitive environment in which to participate.”