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Blue Cross cites health reform in proposed rate increases

Posted August 19, 2010

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— Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina on Thursday asked the state Department of Insurance to approve rate increases for two of its health insurance plans.

The state's largest insurer, Blue Cross wants premiums to go up by almost 7 percent for its Blue Advantage program and by about 2 percent for its Blue Options HSA program. Together, the two plans serve more than 300,000 customers.

“Most of our Blue Advantage and Blue Options HSA customers will see smaller rate increases for 2011,” Blue Cross President and Chief Executive Brad Wilson said in a statement. “However, the only way to make premiums affordable over the long term is to get soaring medical costs under control.”

While citing rising medical care costs as a primary driver in the proposed rate increases, company officials said provisions of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act health care reform law also will impact rates charged under the two plans. Those provisions include requiring insurers to remove the cap on lifetime benefits, enhance preventive care coverage and allow unlimited mental health services, prescription drugs and other types of care.

Also, premiums for people under age 26 will change because the health care reform law requires insurers to rate them as a single group, Blue Cross officials said. Previously, the company divided all people 25 and under into five groups to set premiums, they said.

"Given what is known today about the health care reform law, premiums will be generally higher for individual policies after 2014," the company said in a statement. "Rates generally will be lower for less healthy consumers and higher for healthier consumers than they would have been without reform."

127 Comments

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  • beachboater Aug 24, 11:43 a.m.

    "Of course if McCain had one we might have gone with his plan which would have eliminated the tax deduction workers get for their health care premiums, that sure would have done a lot!"
    wildervb

    Read the law. The deduction IS GONE!!!

    You will be paying tax on your insurance benefits starting in 2011 I believe. Not sure of the date, but it's coming.

  • RKBA Aug 20, 7:24 p.m.

    All part of big O's plan.

    Drive the cost up for "private" insurance (this term is a mockery in the Obama era) so that they become not a viable business. Thus drive everyone to government dependence, which of course, is the evil goal of this plan all along.

  • exteacher Aug 20, 6:43 p.m.

    To Psycho: BCBS is a not-for-profit. YES< they do pay taxes: federal and state. You can go to their web site and read how much they paid last year. Get your facts straight before making absurd statements.
    BCBS, and other insurance companies, are required to keep up to 6 months worth of claims in reserve. BCBS and other insurance companieds have NO CHOICE but to comply with THE LAW!
    The reason your premiums are high is due to the cost of healthcare: doctors, tests, drugs, aging population asking for more and more tests that are EXPENSIVE, etc.
    The Healthcare Reform law does NOTHING to control the COST of healthcare.

  • ncguy Aug 20, 3:53 p.m.

    Superman,

    You got ripped off my friend!

    Here's what the company did- parts were under warranty?

    Nope not really, you paid for those too they just put it in the labor amount.

    I would call the BBB on them.

    I charge $70 an hr for labor- I do it on the side after I get off my 9-5 job.

    Most i have ever seen is $125 an hour

  • superman Aug 20, 3:41 p.m.

    Excuse me for saying so, but the cost of health insurance is expensive because health care is expensive. You ever tried to count the number of people working in a doctor's office. You ever seen the bill the hospital sends out if you have to go there? I went to the dr last week, saw him for about 10 minutes and he charged the insurance company $250.00. Had my heat pump worked on couple weeks ago and the labor for one person was $300.00 an hour. $800 labor for about 2 1/2 hour-- parts were under warranty.

  • sumpinlikedat Aug 20, 2:02 p.m.

    Those of you who actually BELIEVE that BCBS is raising rates due to health care reform are a little duped and a LOT ignorant. I believe it's been said a bunch of times already, but I'll say it again, becuase obviously you're not paying attention:

    BCBS RAISES RATES EVERY SINGLE YEAR. Health care reform is a convenient excuse this year, but it's nothing new. If you think they're really raising rates to pay for what's going to happen 4 years in the future, you're insane.

  • ncguy Aug 20, 1:02 p.m.

    Yep just paid $500 bucks for a machine from 1980 to take a picture of my head-

    and that is with my bcbsnc insurance which I pay $800 a month to already

    took 15 minutes so what $2000 bucks an hour? absurd!!

  • ratherbnnc Aug 20, 12:20 p.m.

    Our Blue Advantage went up to $2000/mo in 2007. Some advantage.
    mwalence

    Then blame NCBCBS, not the government. Health Care legislation was not enacted in 2007.

  • whocares Aug 20, 11:28 a.m.

    I totally agree with bbandrews1. Put those people to work for an hourly wage and see how much better insurance will get when they have to pay for their own insurance on the salary they should become accustomed to.

  • mwalence Aug 20, 11:27 a.m.

    Our Blue Advantage went up to $2000/mo in 2007. Some advantage.

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