The North Carolina Legislative Building – Photo: Clayton Henkel.
Non-profit Blue Cross NC is now allowed to act more like a for-profit insurance company.
Gov. Roy Cooper signed House bill 346 over the weekend, which allows the state’s dominant health insurer to create a holding company that would work outside the reach of state insurance regulations.
The bill won overwhelming bipartisan support in the legislature despite vigorous opposition from state Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey. Causey maintained the measure would lead to increased policy-holder premiums, NC Newsline has reported. Blue Cross would be able to make purchases using North Carolina policyholder premiums that would not benefit residents, he said.
The bill passed despite an 11th hour plea from state Treasurer Dale Folwell to the legislature to slow the action. Both Causey and Folwell are Republicans.
Cooper said in an emailed statement Saturday: “Our goal is comprehensive health insurance with access to care in every county of our state at the most affordable cost possible, and this legislation with consumer protections in place aims to keep the company strong while continuing its commitment to its North Carolina home.”
Under the law, the Insurance Commissioner would have 30 days to approve charter amendments authorizing a reorganization, unless they violate state law governing nonprofit corporations. Information Blue Cross gives the Insurance Commissioner as part of the reorganization will not be public record.
The holding company must file annual audited financial statements and reports on its investments with the Insurance Commissioner.
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