CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – As more consumers take greater responsibility for managing their health, providers and health plans are designing new products to create a closer relationship between physicians and consumers. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina’s (BCBSNC) new Blue LocalSM health plan, a new partnership with Duke Medicine and WakeMed Key Community Care, will make that choice available to customers in the greater Triangle region beginning with the 2016 Annual Enrollment period this fall.

Blue Local is a next-generation health plan designed to promote effective health care, eliminate patient confusion and hold down costs through better coordination. Physicians in the newest Blue Local plan are rewarded for their success in helping patients get and stay as healthy as possible while also managing costs. BCBSNC has seen early success with this Accountable Care Organization (ACO) approach delivering better health outcomes and medical cost savings.

Blue Local with Duke Medicine and WakeMed builds on the momentum and success of a similar product BCBSNC launched in Charlotte last fall with Carolinas HealthCare System. When customers choose Blue Local, they pay a lower premium in exchange for a smaller network of providers centered around specific health systems. Premium savings are typically about 15 percent1 compared to rates for BCBSNC’s traditional broad-network health plans.

“Locally-based products make sense because all health care is delivered locally,” said Michael Parkerson, BCBSNC Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer. “The goal of the Blue Local model is to foster a close relationship between consumers and a physician who closely coordinates their care.”

Blue Local with Duke Medicine and WakeMed will be effective in the individual market beginning January 1, 2016, and will quickly expand to include the group market beginning later in 2016. Consumers who live in Caswell, Chatham, Durham, Johnston, Orange, Person and Wake counties may choose Blue Local with Duke Medicine and WakeMed.

“Successful payer-provider partnerships that improve community health, patient outcomes and affordability are the future of care delivery,” said Jim Bostian, Vice President of Payer Strategy and Health Reform Innovation for Duke University Health System. “Blue Local represents an innovative new coverage option for our patients and employers in the Triangle area.”

This product includes WakeMed Key Community Care (WKCC), which is an ACO created by WakeMed Health & Hospitals, WakeMed Physician Practices and Key Physicians.

“Health plans like Blue Local are an emerging trend for customers who want the option to lower their premium rates and receive care from a local, specific network of providers,” says John Rubino, MD, WKCC Board Chairman. “We are pleased to be working collaboratively with BCBSNC as it is another example of our commitment to providing patients with the best value through high quality, coordinated care.” 

In the event of an emergency, BCBSNC customers should always visit the nearest emergency room for treatment.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina improves the health and well-being of our customers and communities by providing innovative health care products, services and information to more than 3.91 million members, including approximately 1 million served on behalf of other Blue Plans. Since 1933, we have worked to make North Carolina a better place to live through our support of community organizations, programs and events that promote good health. We have been recognized as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies by Ethisphere Institute every year since 2012. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Visit BCBSNC online at All other marks are the property of their respective owners.

About Duke Medicine:
As a world-class academic health care system, Duke Medicine strives to transform medicine locally and globally by providing evidence-based health care for patients, fostering innovative scientific research, educating future clinical and scientific leaders, and leading efforts to eliminate health inequalities. Duke Medicine encompasses the Duke University Health System, Duke University School of Medicine, Duke University School of Nursing and the Private Diagnostic Clinic.

About WakeMed Key Community Care (WKCC):
WKCC is an Accountable Care Organization (ACO) that has been an approved participant in the Medicare Shared Savings Program since Jan. 1, 2014. A collaboration between WakeMed and Key Physicians, the largest network of independent primary care physicians in the Triangle, WKCC provides patients with access to more than 400 community physicians. Doctors, hospitals and insurers participate in accountable care programs to deliver enhanced coordination of care and provide resources that help reduce costs and improve quality of care for patients. These efforts can benefit patients in a variety of ways across their health care experience, from a routine check-up or ongoing disease management, to an unforeseen trip to the emergency department.

1 BCBSNC internal data, June 2014. Based on average estimated 2016 Blue Local premiums compared to average premiums for BCBSNC’s traditional broad-network health plans for 2016.