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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina expects rate increases

Blue Cross Blue Shield signed up 232,000 North Carolinians under the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, the company says. The number was smaller than they were hoping for.

Another concern for them is that the new customers are older and less healthy than they expected. Company spokesman Lew Borman believes without changes to the makeup of the people buying, their rate increases.

It s important to look beyond just how many North Carolinians enrolled in a health plan. We need to look at the health of those customers and what that means for the quantity and type of health care they use.

Having a high percentage of customers who use fewer healthcare services to balance out those who may use many healthcare services is needed for prices to remain stable, he said.

Duke University Healthcare Economics Professor Don Taylor says it is impossible to separate politics from the ACA. He thinks both sides see what they want to see out of the numbers. He says the cost for people will be determined by how much the older group uses.

I would assume Blue Cross has some sense, but I don t blame them for not saying for just a few weeks.

Blue Cross Blue Shield hopes to have a better idea of how much rate increases will be by the end of June.

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