A consultant's report said that allowing Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, to convert to for-profit status likely would increase premiums, but that a lack of information from the 2.9-million-member health plan clouded the forecast. Ernst & Young prepared the report for the North Carolina Department of Insurance, which released a version without some proprietary information. The Blues plan said it has cooperated fully with these and other consultants evaluating the conversion proposal for state regulators. In a written statement, North Carolina Blues President and CEO Bob Greczyn said the Ernst & Young report produced no "verifiable evidence that premiums would increase as a result of conversion." Ernst & Young's report indicated several times that the health plan's vague statements about its likely actions after conversion, including whether it would sell stock in an initial public offering, made it difficult to solidify premium rate predictions. North Carolina Blues first filed its conversion plan with state regulators in January 2002. -- by Vince Galloro
Report: Rate hikes likely if N.C. Blues converts
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