In a move that one consumer health advocate called a "fundamental change" for the insurer, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina announced Monday that it will give $155.8 million back to individual policyholders by the end of the year.
The statewide insurer also received approval Monday from the N.C. Department of Insurance for a 5.37 percent rate increase for Blue Advantage. The increase was less than the insurer's request for a 6.97 percent increase and is the lowest rate increase for Blue Advantage in four years.
Blue Cross was also approved for its requested 2.06 percent increase for Blue Options HSA.
Blue Cross President and CEO Brad Wilson and NCDOI Commissioner Wayne Goodwin held a joint press conference Monday to unveil the refund and rate increases, where they attributed the decision to changes brought about by the Affordable Care Act.
Wilson also cast the decision in terms of wanting to help consumers. "We want to put money in the pockets of policyholders as soon as possible," he said.