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Blue Cross and Blue Shield rate increase big surprise

DeductibleThe amount you owe before your health insurance benefits kick in. For example, if your deductible is $500, your insurance won't pay for anything until your costs are more than $500.

NEW BERN, Craven County - North Carolina's largest health insurer said Wednesday the state insurance department approved the company's rate increase for 2018 Affordable Care Act plans.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina mae the announcement Wednesday, something that left many people surprised, despite the warning letters and news in May the company wanted to raise premiums. The state insurance department approved the company's rate increase for 2018 Affordable Care Act plans.

"Four or five years ago I was paying $300 for my insurance," said Mack Paul, owner of the UPS Store in New Bern. "As of right now, I'm paying $958 a month and so we are going up to over $1,300 a month under the plan Blue Cross and Blue Shield wants to put me into." The only insurer selling the plans in all 100 of the state's counties said in May it wanted to raise premiums by 23 percent, but lowered its request to 14 percent in August after new data showing that North Carolina's ACA market was stabilizing. About 90 percent of North Carolina Blue Cross's 500,000 "Obamacare" customers get a subsidy. For them, Trump's move could mean a larger subsidy and better coverage.

Officials said President Trump's move to cut off Obamacare payments to insurers won't affect the average 14 percent rate increase on individual policies for next year.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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