SEANC's ads on health care costs raise awareness for viewers

Jan 10, 2020

SEANC recently launched television ads in the Wilmington and Asheville markets calling out hospitals for their billing practices with the State Health Plan.

This week, WLOS in Asheville took notice, responding to questions from concerned viewers who had seen the ad by launching an investigation of their own. The station interviewed SEANC Government Relations Director Ardis Watkins, who spoke out on the need for transparency and lower costs in health care through the implementation of State Treasurer Dale Folwell’s Clear Pricing Project.

The report also featured an Asheville mother who has faced the same shock as many state employees opening a hospital bill after taking her daughter to the emergency room recently.

"It's confusing, and it is frustrating to not be able to just have a full picture of, like, here's how the process works,” she said.

Watkins pointed out that the Clear Pricing Project would alleviate those concerns, saying, “[It’s] taking the price, comparing it to Medicare reimbursement, so you know for a certainty what you’ll pay."

More than 25,000 providers signed on to the Clear Pricing Project this year. However, all of the state's major hospitals – like New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington and Mission Health in Asheville – boycotted the plan to bring transparency to hospital billing.

SEANC has called for reference-based pricing – tying reimbursement rates to Medicare rates – since 2011, and will continue this fight until every hospital in the state signs on to the Clear Pricing Project. To take action, follow us on Twitter and Facebook, share our ads with your communities and urge your local hospital to join the Clear Pricing Project. Together, we can end secret contracts and have both quality and affordable care for state employees, retirees and their families.

Legislature to reconvene Tuesday

The legislature will reconvene on Tuesday. SEANC will continue to make the case for raises for university and community college employees, non-certified school personnel and retirees – all of which were left out of the “mini-budget” bills that passed before the holiday break.

We are pressing legislative leaders to honor the service and sacrifice of our retired state employees, and we believe they will find enough one-time money to provide a retiree bonus of at least 2%.

Members should click here to reach out to their legislators to tell them to stand up for pay equity by passing these increases in this session.