Feds OK Later Cap On North Carolina Insurer Profits

Federal regulators are allowing North Carolina insurers a one-year delay in meeting a requirement that more of each premium dollar goes toward medical services rather than overhead and bonuses.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said Thursday it's allowing North Carolina's highly concentrated market of just nine insurers some leeway to keep from driving some out of the state. Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina has more than 80 percent of the market for policies sold to individuals and small businesses.

The federal agency says its delay in the requirement in the federal health overhaul law is to give smaller issuers time to compete with Blue Cross without the pressure of cutting their marketing expenses to meet the standard for what's called the medical-loss ratio.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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