North Carolina's largest health insurer is projecting the coronavirus pandemic will cost the company hundreds of millions of dollars.  

Dr. Tunde Sotunde is the CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, and has been in charge of the insurer for just over a month.

He says costs related to the pandemic will likely top $600 million, with long-term expenditures even larger if medical expenses rise.

Sotunde told The News & Observer the company has taken numerous steps to increase and streamline care during the last several months, including the elimination of co-pays for screening, testing and treatment for COVID-19.

Telehealth services have expanded, and payment grace periods have been extended.

Sotunde says Blue Cross NC is well-positioned to handle increasing costs but admits the pandemic has taken the insurer into “uncharted territory.”

It remains unclear how the increased costs might affect future insurance premiums.

Sotunde also says the company is committed to the Affordable Care Act marketplace, which is under threat from the Trump administration's efforts to effectively end the program.

For the most up-to-date information on coronavirus in North Carolina, visit our Live Updates blog here. WFDD wants to hear your stories — connect with us and let us know what you're experiencing.

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