House Bill 346 is legislation that cuts government red tape so some businesses can put more money towards lowering healthcare costs and increasing access.
Despite its seemingly uncontroversial goals, the bill has been the subject of much debate.
When reading the legislation and examining the facts, however, a significant number of the claims made against the bill appear to be false.
Here are the most common arguments against the bill, and the truth about their accuracy.
- FALSE: House Bill 346 will cause premiums and out-of-pocket costs rise.
- TRUTH: Health insurance premiums are subject to state and federal oversight. The law requires that at least 80 cents every premium dollar be used to pay healthcare bills for policy holders. If a health plan collects too much money and falls below this threshold, then individuals and businesses get a rebate. No state law can override this. In addition, insurance rates must, and will continue to be, approved by the North Carolina Department of Insurance.
- FALSE: House Bill 346 will cause individuals and businesses to not get rebates they are owed.
- TRUTH: Rebates are required by federal law if an insurer fails to spend a minimum of 80 cents of every premium dollar on healthcare. State law cannot change this.
- FALSE: House Bill 346 will cause people will lose their doctor and benefits.
- TRUTH: Provider networks must meet federal adequacy standards. Insurance coverage is regulated at both the state and federal level. There are federal laws around medical and pharmacy benefit requirements and out-of-pocket limits. The legislation cannot impact these requirements. There is no language in the bill that relates to network or benefit changes.
- FALSE: House Bill 346 is being rushed through the legislative process.
- TRUTH: The bill was filed on March 9th. It was subject to four committee hearings in the House and public debate on the House floor. It will go through multiple committees in the Senate.
- FALSE: House Bill 346 will weaken oversight.
- TRUTH: There is no language in House Bill 346 changes the fact that the North Carolina insurance commissioner maintains all authority to regulate health insurance companies.
In reading the bill and examining the facts, it appears the claims against House Bill 346 are incorrect and uninformed.
The bills authors have made sure that North Carolina consumers are the beneficiaries of this legislation. They have written specifically into the bill that any investments must be made towards improving healthcare and lowering costs for individuals and businesses.
The members of the General Assembly who have sponsored and voted for this bill should be commended for doing what is best for their constituents – and not falling victim to falsehoods, no matter how loudly and repeatedly they are stated.