Health Insurance

Screenshot of interactive infant mortality rate map of NC
NC Child

Check out this interactive map to explore where your county stands on infant mortality rate.

North Carolina’s infant mortality rate is one of the worst in the country—only eight states have worse rates.

photo of a stethoscope
Wesley Wilson / Pexels

When the Affordable Care Act went into effect, the federal government hoped visits to the Emergency Room - some of the most expensive treatments in the industry - would decrease.

Instead, ER visits are rising. Experts blame the spike on patients who have health insurance for the first time and have yet to visit a primary care physician.

A picture of the BCBS NC Headquarters in Durham.
Jed Record /

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

Blue Cross and Blue Shield has said it might remove some of its health insurance policies under the Affordable Care Act.
Jed Record / Flickr Creative Commons

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina CEO Brad Wilson recently told the News and Observer that the company might have to consider pulling some of its health insurance policies offered under the Affordable Care Act.

Wilson cited financial losses of more than $100 million in the first year of ACA coverage.

North Carolina is considering changes to state health insurance plans that would eliminate the 80/20 plans. / Flickr Creative Commons

The Board of Trustees that manages the state health insurance plans for government employees is considering major changes to the state health plan.

The board is considering proposed elimination of the 80/20 plan. The measure is in response to a legislative order to reduce costs for the more than 690,000 employees and retirees who receive health benefits through the state. 

Blue Cross Blue Shield pen
frankieleon / Flickr Creative Commons

Enrollment errors with Blue Cross and Blue Shield created challenges for 25,000 customers. Several factors contributed to the problem including an extension to sign up for the Affordable Care Act and a software transfer within Blue Cross.

doctor, child, health child health
Courtesy of

Child health insurance coverage in North Carolina is at a record high of nearly 95 percent, and researchers at Georgetown University say the increase is thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

A picture of a patient and a doctor meeting over a web connection.
Cisco Systems

Cisco Systems employees can now make appointments at the tech company's private medical practice in the Research Triangle Park.

The new LifeConnections Health Center offers medical, mental, vision, telehealth and holistic care, and an in-house gym. It replaces a smaller telehealth-only clinic on the grounds. RTP is the third of Cisco's LifeConnections Centers. This facility will serve about 5,000 employees and their families.

ICD-9 logo / Wikipedia

Doctors and hospitals will have a higher bar to clear when submitting insurance claims, starting today.

Federal law requires them to begin tracking patient care and submitting insurance claims using the more specific ICD-10 coding system. The broader ICD-9 had been in place for decades.

Julie Henry is a spokeswoman for the North Carolina Hospital Association.

Supreme Court building, Washington, DC, USA. Front facade.

The U.S Supreme Court will take up a case this week that potentially puts half a million North Carolinians at risk of losing their subsidized health insurance through the Affordable Care Act.

In King v. Burwellthe high court will examine whether the federal government can assist in paying insurance premiums for all Americans or if it can only offer funds in states that have created their own health care exchanges.

A picture of a stethoscope.
jasleen_kaur / Flickr/Creative Commons

The three-month open-enrollment period for federally subsidized health care starts in November. This year, federal funding to help people enroll in subsidized health insurance has dropped.

Sorien Schmidt works with the North Carolina chapter of Enroll America to connect people with navigator organizations. She says enrollment was a success last year, but there are still one million uninsured North Carolinians and others will need help to re-enroll.

Laptop computer
Ian Usher / Flickr

Universities across the country have made it clear that providing health coverage for temporary employees -- like adjunct professors and grad students -- is prohibitively expensive. / US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid


Two different interpretations of the Affordable Care Act have raised questions about whether some states can give out subsidies to help people pay for health insurance. 

The D.C. Circuit Court ruled yesterday that subsidies are illegal in states that did not set up their own insurance exchanges. North Carolina is one of those states. 

Then, hours later, the 4th Circuit Court said they are legal.

Host Frank Stasio talks with Duke University law professor Neil Siegel about what the rulings mean for North Carolina.

Kay Hagan 7.18.14
Katelyn Ferral

Democratic U.S. Senator Kay Hagan was in Raleigh Friday afternoon to discuss a bill she and others have introduced in the U.S. Senate that seeks to restore womens' access to employer-covered contraception. The bill was defeated this week but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says he plans to bring it up later this year.

When Hagan was asked what she thinks of the North Carolina General Assembly's late efforts to put together a budget for this fiscal year, she was quick to bring up her own record as a former state senator: logo


The deadline for signing up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act is just around the corner. By Monday March 31st, the Obama administration hopes that 6 million Americans will have begun the process of enrollment. 

Community Care of North Carolina

North Carolina is enrolling more uninsured people than any other state that refused to set up its own health care exchange under the Affordable Care Act.

Health care policy director Adam Searing of the NC Justice Center says the state-run Medicaid system, Community Care, has made a big difference.

The state has encouraged social and health services to cooperate to provide Medicaid patients solid care up front, and now friends and family members who don't qualify for Medicaid have affordable options and guidance for enrolling in private healthcare.

a pharmicist
NC Department of Health and Human Services

At least two private health insurance exchanges will soon be launching in North Carolina. 

The NC Chamber and a company called Digital Benefit Advisors are opening websites next month that will act as private marketplaces for health insurance.  Leaders for both organizations say they're designed for employees of companies that might be scaling back their insurance policies.

North Carolina Chamber COO Jim Simpson says the idea is to encourage competition and decrease the cost of insurance.

HealthServe is closing in Greensboro this week and 20,000 people will have to find a medical provider elsewhere.

North Carolina is asking local health departments to work with people hired to give information about the Affordable Care Act. 

The Department of Health and Human Services sent a letter to every county last week, encouraging them to work with so-called health care navigators.  The federal government gave out about $3 million in grants to non-profits, hospitals and volunteers to hire navigators last month.

Duke Energy provides electricity for most of North Carolina since the 2012 merger.
Duke Energy

Duke Energy is dropping its practice of paying for retirees' health benefits.  The country's largest utility joins companies like IBM, General Electric and Time Warner in the policy change.

 Instead of covering insurance for more than 14,000 retirees, Duke Energy will give them a yearly stipend.  Retirees can use that payment to buy their own coverage.  Dave Scanzoni is a company spokesman.

US Census
US Census Bureau

The latest Census report shows North Carolina continues a slow crawl out of the economic downturn.

In 2012, more people lived below the poverty level in North Carolina than they did the year before.  The Census Bureau’s American Community Survey shows 18% of North Carolinians live in poverty compared to about 16% nationally.

Ed Welniak heads the Income Statistics branch of the Census Bureau.

Blue Cross Blue Shield NC campus.
Blue Cross Blue Shield NC

Insurance provider BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina is expanding retail locations as the federal government prepares to launch the state's health care exchange. 

HealthServe is closing in Greensboro this week and 20,000 people will have to find a medical provider elsewhere.

An estimated 20,000 patients will be affected by the closing of a health clinic in Greensboro later this month.  HealthServe provides care for people who are low-income, and have little or insufficient health insurance. The clinic began as a volunteer effort by local doctors in the 1990s. HealthServe has lost funding from the County and Moses Cone Hospital. The State’s recent decision to not expand Medicaid was the third strike.

The White House

The state Department of Insurance has approved subsidized health care plans that will be available under the Affordable Care Act.

Several details of the plans remain sealed as trade secrets, including rates, deductibles and how many were approved.  Marni Schribman of the state Insurance Department says the plans will be part of North Carolina's health care exchange, which is scheduled to launch in October.

BlueCross BlueShield NC's Chapel Hill headquarters, a rhomboid-shaped glass building built in 1973.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina employees will soon move out of their landmark Chapel Hill headquarters and consolidate operations in Durham. The health insurer purchased two buildings on its Durham campus where they could move employees starting in September. 

Spokesman Lew Borman says the move is expected to save the company up to $2.5 million in operating costs annually.  As for the signature building they now call home, Borman says its fate is yet to be determined.

Duke Chapel, Duke University, Durham
Dave DeWitt

The student health insurance plan at Duke University will soon cover procedures for sexual reassignment surgery. 

The university will be the first in North Carolina to cover the service, starting this fall. Dean of Students Sue Wasiolek says the student health advisory committee recommended the change to complement existing benefits.

"A couple of years ago, we made certain that we had appropriate counseling support and hormonal therapy covered in the insurance policy for students," says Wasiolek.