With a storm of protest from state workers still ringing in their ears, North Carolina legislators have backed off a plan to eliminate traditional “80/20” insurance (in which plan members pay 20% of healthcare costs until their deductible is met). Instead, they’ll incentivize preventive care by lowering copays for routine medical visits and some prescription drugs in 2017. That could mean higher traffic in primary care practices—and even longer waits to see PCPs in a timely fashion, something that could benefit urgent care centers who successfully make the case that they offer immediate, walk-in care for patients who can’t wait a few days to see a physician. State Treasurer Janet Cowell went so far as to tell patients “if you can’t make it to primary care [or a specialist], go to the urgent care.” The State Employees Association of North Carolina says it prefers the new plan to the one proposed initially.
NC: Can’t Wait for Your PCP? ‘Go to the Urgent Care’