DURHAM, N.C. – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) announced today that the North Carolina Department of Insurance (NCDOI) has approved its 2.8% average rate increase for individual customers who enroll in Affordable Care Act (ACA) plans in 2022. Skyrocketing prescription drugs and increasing medical costs are driving rates higher, but progress in Blue Cross NC’s industry-leading move to value-based care creates savings to offset increasing costs and ensure rates remain affordable for members.

Between 2009 and 2019, health care spending in the United States rose nearly a trillion dollars, and these costs are expected to continue climbing.

  • In 2019, health care spending was nearly $3.8 trillion, or $11,582 per person, and by 2028, these costs are expected to climb to $6.2 trillion—roughly $18,000 per person.
  • Between 2010 and 2025, prescription drug prices are expected to increase by 136%.
  • For 2022, PwC's Health Research Institute (HRI) projects the medical cost percentage increase to be 6.5%.

To counterbalance these rising health care costs and keep average rate increases lower than national medical cost increases, Blue Premier, Blue Cross NC’s landmark value-based care program, has generated cost savings and quality improvements totaling more than $300 million in its first two years.

“Our move to value-based care continues to positively impact our members, even as health care costs rise” said Tunde Sotunde, CEO of Blue Cross NC. “Now in its second year, Blue Premier has created savings that enable us to make health care more affordable, in addition to improving health care outcomes. This moves us one step closer to our goal: to make health care better, simpler and more affordable for all.”

To build on the success of Blue Premier, which makes Blue Cross NC and providers jointly accountable for improving care and reducing costs, Blue Cross NC continues to identify opportunities to optimize collaboration with providers.

  • In June, Blue Cross NC announced an investment in a joint venture to support independent physicians in North Carolina and enable them to focus more on high-quality, cost-effective patient care while also offering practices the ability to grow more sustainably as value-based care expands.
  • In 2020, Blue Cross NC launched Accelerate to Value, a program to help independently owned primary care physician practices remain financially viable and move to value-based care so independent primary care doctors spend more time providing high-quality, cost-effective patient care, and less time worrying about the financial health of their practice. Through this program, Blue Cross NC distributed $19.8 million in funds to 513 independent primary care practices in 2020, which care for almost 500,000 of our members.

“While the average ACA rate for individuals will reflect a modest increase in 2022, the last three years Blue Cross NC lowered rates for individual ACA customers,” said Sotunde. “This resulted in a total reduction of over $380 million since 2018 and a savings of $35 million in health care costs for 2021 alone.”

About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina:

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) is committed to making health care better, simpler and more affordable. We have been driving better health in North Carolina since 1933, working to tackle our communities’ greatest health challenges. Blue Cross NC serves its customers and communities of more than 4.2 million members, including approximately 1.1 million on behalf of other Blue Plans. Blue Cross NC is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Visit Blue Cross NC online at www.bluecrossnc.com. All other marks are the property of their respective owners.