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NC’s Largest Insurer Asks For Hefty Rate Hikes To Keep Canceled Policies

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(credit: Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)

(credit: Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina’s largest health insurer said Tuesday it is asking for rate increases of between 16 percent and 24 percent to renew policies that would have been canceled for failing to meet minimum requirements under the federal overhaul law.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina said it filed the necessary documents with the state Insurance Department that could allow customers who buy their own policies to keep their current coverage next year. The policies were being cancelled because they didn’t include coverage for pre-existing conditions, hospitalization, prescription drugs, and seven other basic benefits.

President Barack Obama said Thursday he will allow insurers and their regulators to continue into next year current policies that would have been noncompliant with the federal health insurance overhaul law next year. It will be up to state regulators and insurance companies to decide whether to keep alive previously canceled policies.

Twenty-one companies operating in North Carolina terminated 183,821 individual and group health insurance policies affecting 473,724 people by late October, according to figures collected by North Carolina’s Insurance Department

North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin said last week his agency will quickly review such requests. Blue Cross said it expects to mail revised renewal notices to eligible customers by Dec. 1.

“By taking this action, we are giving approximately 230,000 customers an additional option to consider as they weigh their health insurance choices for 2014,” Blue Cross CEO Brad Wilson said in a statement.

“These are high-quality health plans that have provided great value and peace of mind for our customers. We believe many of them will welcome the opportunity to renew these plans for another year.”

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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