Insurance provider BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina is expanding retail locations as the federal government prepares to launch the state's health care exchange.
The Affordable Care Act calls for each state to set up an insurance pool for people who don't have health insurance. State lawmakers opted out, which means Washington will run North Carolina's exchange. BlueCross will be the only insurer to cover all 100 counties. It provides plans to 96 percent of North Carolinians who buy their own insurance.
"We think that our retail stores are just another way to get information out to the public and if they want to get a quote we can do that, and if they want to get an application, we can do that as well," says Stephanie Perun, who manages BlueCross retail in North Carolina.
The company has two retail locations in Morrisville and Hickory. Perun says there will be five more in the Asheville, Charlotte, Triangle and Fayetteville areas by October, when the health care exchange is scheduled to launch. The federal government still has to approve plans and rates for the exchange.