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NC consumers buying their own health insurance face big premium increases, regulators approve


RALEIGH, North Carolina — North Carolina consumers who buy their own health insurance are facing major price increases next year.

The state Insurance Department said Friday it's approved rates covering about 610,000 people that will be one-third to one-fifth higher in 2016. The three-month open enrollment period for 2016 begins Sunday.

The insurance regulator says Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina was approved for an average 32.5 percent rate increase. Aetna is approved for an average 24 percent increase, while United HealthCare can raise premiums by an average 20 percent.

The three companies are the only insurers to sell plans on a federally run online insurance marketplace for subsidized policies.

North Carolina's increases are among the highest for the 37 states that rely on the website, according to government figures.

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