May 25, 2017

Blue Cross wants 23% rate hike in NC, blames uncertainty on insurer payments

Gerry Broome / AP

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is asking for a 23% rate hike for individual Affordable Care Act plans. Although the insurer said Thursday it intends to cover all 100 counties, it said its filing "does not guarantee our participation in offering plans."

Between the lines: The insurer says the uncertainty over whether they'll get their ACA cost-sharing payments "drove the majority of the requested increase." If it weren't for that, it says it would have only asked for an 8.8% rate hike.

Why it matters: This suggests that insurers are now beginning to set their rates higher because they don't think they're going to get the ACA payments.

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The pandemic shows why we're never ready for the big one

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

As the confirmed number of COVID-19 cases passed 1 million on Friday, two words sum up the U.S. response to the coronavirus: not enough. Not enough hospital beds, not enough ventilators, not enough protective equipment. Not enough preparation.

Why it matters: COVID-19 has demonstrated our normal defenses aren't enough in the face of a low-probability, but high-consequence catastrophe.

U.S. coronavirus updates: New York reports record 630 deaths in 24 hours

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

New York reported 630 new deaths in 24 hours, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Saturday — an "all-time increase" that beat the previous day's record of 562 deaths in a single day.

The big picture: As expected, COVID-19 death tolls are rising in the U.S., killing more than 7,100 people in total, and over 1,000 in 24 hours alone. The CDC is recommending Americans wear face coverings in public to help stop the spread, marking a significant change in messaging from the Trump administration.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 13 mins ago - Health

World coronavirus updates: Spain tracks more cases than Italy

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

Spain overtook Italy in its number of coronavirus cases on Saturday, as the global death toll surpassed 60,000, per Johns Hopkins data.

The latest: About half the planet's population is on lockdown amid the coronavirus crisis. Fatalities are exponentially increasing across Europe, with roughly half of deaths worldwide located in Italy and Spain.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 15 mins ago - Health