Blue Cross Seeks 19 Percent Rate Hike for Affordable Care Act Plans

May 31, 2016

Customers of the state's largest health insurance company who get their coverage through the Affordable Care Act might pay more in 2017.

Officials with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina have asked state regulators for a nearly 19 percent rate increase for customers who buy coverage through

BCBSNC had considered pulling out of the federal marketplace altogether. The company reported losing more than $250 million on customers who enrolled in the ACA in 2015, saying those patients tend to be older and less healthy.

"In 2015, we saw rising prices for many drugs, both generic and name brand drugs, that a large number of ACA customers use," Brian Tajlili, director of actuarial and pricing services for BCBSNC, said in a statement. "In fact, seven drugs cost our company over $139 million to cover ACA customers last year."

More than 600,000 customers in North Carolina have health coverage through the government exchange. BCBSNC is the only company to offer ACA plans in all 100 North Carolina counties.

The North Carolina Department of Insurance will have to approve the rate increase.