NC Blue Cross: Tax cut helps charities, rate hikes lessened

BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina (Photo: WSOC)

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina’s largest health insurer says its windfall from the new federal tax cut will hold down rate increases in the future, but this year will give charities millions of dollars and pay employees a $1,000 bonus.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina said Thursday it will give away $50 million this year for health initiatives and give thousands of employees bonuses. The company said premiums are expected to keep rising in 2019, but by less than they would have after tax savings are applied to most policies.

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Blue Cross spokesman Austin Vevurka said most 2018 rates were set by the time Washington finalized the tax cuts in December. He said customers with policies renewing in October could see smaller cost increases as a result of the windfall.