Blue Cross and Blue Shield, the state’s largest health insurer, said Friday that it posted its first financial loss in 15 years as a result of insuring high numbers of older and sicker people under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
The Chapel Hill organization signed up 257,704 people under the federal health care law, which requires insurers to provide coverage regardless of a customer’s health condition.
New enrollees last year swelled Blue Cross’s covered membership to 3.91 million people, and boosted revenue by 25 percent to an all-time high of $8 billion.
But steep medical claims – for hip and knee replacements, heart procedures, specialty drugs and other costs – drove up medical claims from $5 billion in 2013 to $6.4 billion in 2014. Blue Cross also paid $156 million in ACA-related fees, a new cost for the company.