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Blue Cross and Blue Shield ACA rates going up in 2018

DURHAM, N.C. — North Carolina officials announced Wednesday that Blue Cross Blue Shield can raise its rates for Affordable Care Act plans next year.

The North Carolina Department of Insurance just signed off on a 14.1 percent increase. The insurer was asking for a 22.9 percent hike, but then lowered the request in August.

[PAST COVERAGE: NC one of few states where BCBS asks for ACA rate increase]

Blue Cross officials said most ACA members -- anyone up to four times the federal poverty level -- will qualify for federal subsidies to help them pay the higher premiums.

People who have "grandfathered" plans -- certain plans that were in place before the ACA became law -- have a choice to make. Blue Cross is doing away with those plans come January.

[LINK: Renew Blue for those with expiring plans]

Blue Cross acknowledges people with those plans who switch over to ACA plans could see "significant" increases.

Blue Cross officials said, "Health care costs too much. We understand that a premium increase of any amount is difficult for many of our customers."

Blue Cross is the only insurer offering ACA plans in all 100 counties in the state. It counts 500,000 ACA members.

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