While there was little fanfare, Governor Roy Cooper’s signature on Senate Bill 228 may be one of the most important actions he’s taken to-date to lower healthcare costs for North Carolinians. 


Senate Bill 228 allows Exclusive Provider Organization (EPO)insurance plans to be offered to small businesses and individuals in NorthCarolina. 


What’s so great about these plans? They cost lot less and increase the quality of care. 


EPO plans could save small businesses, workers and their families, up to 20 percent on their premiums while also improving the quality of care-coordination.


We know that healthcare costs are often cited as ‘Issue NumberOne’ for businesses and families, so it’s no exaggeration to say that 20percent premium savings is huge news for millions around our state. 


Moreover, EPOs are subject to the same consumer protections, pre-existing condition coverage requirements, and network adequacy standards as other ACA health insurance plans. 


Rather than skimp on benefits, EPOs deliver cost-savings by limiting in-network coverage to an exclusive provider. 


Since a provider knows they will get nearly 100 percent of the plans business, they offer lower rates, which in turn means lower premiums.


And so, even though not much attention was paid to the signing ofSenate Bill 228, its enaction may have a bigger impact on healthcare costs than any other bill that crosses Governor Cooper’s desk this legislative session.

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