Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), and premiums for some customers could increase by over 50%. Blue Cross and Blue Shield, the state’s largest provider, was approved for a 32.5% average increase, almost the full 34.6% requested. Changes will vary among policies, but range between 5% and 42%. UnitedHealthcare was approved for a 20.4% average increase, with actuals ranging between 2.5% and 50.3%. Coventry Health Care of the Carolinas, which is owned by Aetna, will see an average 23.6% increase. Costs could be higher for customers jumping age categories or switching plans. The increases are explained as offsets for spiking hospital utilization and subsidized elderly citizens opting for expensive treatments. Many are expected to drop insurance for inability to pay, in spite of increasing penalties for the uncovered. In 2016 the uninsured will owe the IRS $695 per individual or $2,085 per family, or 2.5% of household income, whichever is greater.
Troubled Assets Still Troubling charlotte
Bank of America has agreed to pay a $335 million settlement in a federal lawsuit. The bank has that much in reserves. Bank of America had a heavy load of subprime mortgages on its books before the housing crash, largely due to its purchase of Countrywide. It was sued by investors who purchased the bank’s mortgage securities without being informed of their exposure to risk. A second complaint pertained to the bank’s reliance on MERS, a private electronic system for registering mortgages. It worked around the bureaucracy involved in recording mortgage transfers with county clerks. Shareholders allege the bank knew record-keeping in MERS was so bad it would prevent foreclosure on thousands of delinquent mortgages. The Pennsylvania Public School Employees’ Retirement System led the lawsuit. They
charged Bank of America knew it would not be able to repay the $45 billion in TARP funds it received had it been candid with investors about its toxic assets. Since the financial crisis, the bank has spent over $70 billion on legal and regulatory issues.
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North Carolina’s 301 miles of coastline is ripe for what some are calling the blue economy. That’s why Wilmington was the first city in the United States to host the sixth annual BioMarine International Business Convention. Five North Carolina entrepreneurs showcased. Niels Lindquist, of Sandbar Oyster Company, told of the company’s biodegradable oyster-attracting substrates. Anthony Dellinger, of Kepley Biosystems, told how OrganoBait, a synthetic crustacean bait, is less hazardous for the ecosystem than dead fish. Gabe Dough, of Shure Foods, claims he can triple the yield of conventional crabmeat processing using enzymatic treatments and water pressure. Lisa Day, at Ocis Biotechnology, is developing an algae-based delivery system for burn treatment. And Jason Caplan, of EnSolve Biosystems, told of plans to scale-up the growth of bacterial cultures that will eat grime off boats. Other developments in the state include collaboration between NCSU and UNC-Chapel Hill to replace daily insulin injections with less-frequent shots of nanoparticle meshes made of shrimp shells and seaweed.
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Vol 5 | Ed 12 - Western North Carolina's Business Lifestyle Magazine - Featuring Clyde Hollifield