Aetna snags North Carolina state employee contract; BCBS loses out

Aetna will manage health insurance for more than 740,000 North Carolina state employees, winning a contract BCBS North Carolina has held for over 40 years. 

According to a Jan. 4 news release from North Carolina State Treasurer Dale Folwell, Aetna will take over the state's health plan in 2025 with an initial three-year contract, with the option to renew two, one-year terms. The contract includes healthcare spending of more than $17.5 billion over five years.  

Aetna was one of three companies to bid for the state's health plan. BCBS North Carolina and UMR (UnitedHealth) lost out. 

The new contract could save the state up to $140 million in administrative costs. 

Over 600 Aetna employees will be assigned to facilitate the transition, according to the news release. 

"A change of this magnitude is a great opportunity for a fresh perspective, and we look forward to working closely with Aetna to create new ways to provide price transparency, increase access and quality while lowering the cost of healthcare for those who teach, protect and serve, and taxpayers like them," Mr. Folwell said. 

Representatives for BCBS North Carolina said in a statement shared with Becker's the company is "deeply disappointed" in the state's decision and plans to appeal. 

"This is a consequential decision that will impact more than 580,000 State Health Plan members and threatens North Carolina jobs," the company said in its statement. "Blue Cross NC is pursuing a formal appeal and seeking more information through a public records request to ensure the best outcome for North Carolina and all State Health Plan members."

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