N.C. Blue Requests 7 Percent Rate Hike
BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina has proposed increasing its average insurance premiums by 6.97 percent - although some policies could rise by up to 30 percent - in a move that would have to be approved by state regulators, the Charlotte Observer reports. The biggest increases will hit children, men and some older members. Still, "[t]hat's the lowest proposed annual increase since 2007, and about 28,000 people will see rate decreases, including women in their early 20s" (Wolf, 8/20).
The (Durham, N.C.) Herald-Sun adds, "Blue Cross executives said Thursday that the rate increases were primarily driven by increases in medical costs, but warned of additional increases and fluctuations for certain demographics that will result from the gradual rollout of federal health care reform legislation by 2014" (Chen, 8/19).
"The rates are not official until approved by [the state's Department of Insurance], though the department has traditionally approved such increases," the Triangle Business Journal reports. "The new rates would not go into effect until Jan. 1, 2011. The request for a rate hike comes a week after BCBSNC said that it would lay off between 80 and 90 employees in an effort to cut costs" (Gallagher, 8/19).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.