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Andrew Harnik / AP

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Tennessee will sell health plans on the Affordable Care Act exchange next year in the 16 counties near Knoxville that were left without an insurer after Humana bailed, Sarah Kliff at Vox reports. But those plans could be expensive. J.D. Hickey, CEO of the Tennessee Blues, told the state insurance commissioner that his team will price in the risks surrounding the cost-sharing subsidies, individual mandate and health insurance tax.

However, Hickey mentioned that Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Tennessee's financial performance has improved so far in 2017 after shouldering major losses in the first few years of the ACA exchanges. Financial documents obtained by Axios show the company produced a small overall profit in 2016, although it still had a $14.7 million gross loss on its individual-market plans.

The bottom line: This is an important development and again shows why the Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans are vital to the ACA individual marketplaces. But it also shows that the unclear signals from the Trump administration about whether it will pay insurers' subsidies, and whether it will enforce the individual mandate, are already forcing insurers to charge more for coverage.

Go deeper

"Atmospheric river" to whiplash Northern California from drought to flood

A map depicting 24-hour preciptation forecast (inches) ending Monday at 5a.m. local time. Photo: NOAA

A series of powerful "atmospheric river" storms are set dump historic amounts of rainfall across parts of drought-stricken California and the Pacific Northwest from this weekend, forecasters warn.

Why it matters: A strong atmospheric river, packing large amounts of moisture, is predicted to whiplash Northern California from drought to flood.

10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves to be removed after fires

A firefighter looks up at a giant sequoia tree after fire burned through the Sequoia National Forest near California Hot Springs, California, on Sept. 23. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

"Upwards of" 10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves have been "weakened by drought, disease, age, and/or fire" and must be removed in the wake of California's wildfires, the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks announced.

Why it matters: The damage to these trees, considered "national treasures," and work to remove them means a nearby key highway must remain closed to visitors as they have "the potential to strike people, cars, other structures, or create barriers to emergency response services," per a statement from the national parks.

Obama stumps for McAuliffe, urges Virginians not "to go back to the chaos"

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama framed a Nov. 2 gubernatorial race as a bellwether for the Democratic Party and the country, telling a crowd at a campaign event for Terry McAuliffe on Saturday that "I believe you, right here in Virginia, are going to show the rest of the country and the world that we're not going to indulge in our worst instincts."

Why it matters: With just over a week to go before Election Day in the Commonwealth, McAuliffe is bringing out the big guns. The 44th president appeared on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University to urge supporters to get to the polls.