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Tue Jul 31, 2018, 12:04 AM

NC's newest ACA health insurer serves the neediest, but faces fines and lawsuits

RALEIGH -- A national health insurer that’s been fined $1.5 million by regulators in Washington and is the subject of a class action lawsuit in that state plans to enter North Carolina’s federal health care market.

Missouri-based Centene Corp., the nation’s largest provider of individual health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, is expanding its coverage throughout the country, including North Carolina where it will offer plans in Durham and Wake counties under the name Ambetter.

But the Fortune 100 company is also eying North Carolina for bigger spoils: a coveted contract to manage a part of the state’s $14.6 billion Medicaid market.

Health insurance advocates say North Carolina will benefit from a new competitor. The state is down to one ACA insurer that covers all 100 counties, Blue Cross and Blue Shield. Another, Cigna, is limited to just five counties: Wake, Johnston, Orange, Chatham and Nash. Centene’s entry will make Wake the only county in the state with three ACA options. Several years ago Blue Cross vied for ACA customers in numerous North Carolina counties against two national carriers, Aetna and UnitedHealthcare.

Read more: https://www.newsobserver.com/news/business/article215665910.html

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