Blue Cross policy holders will get $100 to $500 in wellness gift cards. Money is part of insurer’s pandemic response. | Local News


Blue Cross NC said it is funding cards from the monies received from the federal government following litigation related to the Affordable Care Act temporary risk corridor program.

In April, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the federal government is required to follow-through on the promise of the ACA risk corridor program that covered years 2014 through 2016.

While not intended to protect insurers from all losses in the ACA marketplace, the risk corridor program provided an appropriate and necessary backstop on losses for insurers that were willing to serve people in the new marketplace.

In addition to the health and wellness retail cards, Blue Cross NC applied the remaining risk corridor funds to help keep 2021 rates for many of its customers lower.

For 2021, Blue Cross NC said that ACA plans offered to individuals will be reduced by an average of 1% percent on a statewide basis — the third consecutive year it has lowered ACA rates for cumulative reduction of nearly $1 billion.

Mike Causey, the state’s insurance commissioner, said in a statement that he agreed with Blue Cross NC’s strategy with the retail cards.

“Earlier this year, I met with Blue Cross and Blue Shield leadership to discuss ways to assist policyholders and communities that may be financially suffering,” Causey said.

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