Blue Cross NC, Cambia Health Solutions officially end 'affiliation' talks

Conference table in office of modern business center, boardroom interior
Blue Cross NC and Cambia Health Solutions have called off their planned "strategic affiliation." (Getty Images/Fizkes)

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina and Cambia Health Solutions have jointly decided to end their talks to enter a "strategic affiliation."

The boards of both insurers "mutually" agreed to suspend their efforts to enter into the affiliation agreement, which would have united the two payers under a joint corporate structure. The merger was put on hold late last month after it was revealed that then-Blue Cross NC CEO Patrick Conway had been charged with driving while intoxicated over the summer.

In a joint statement, the insurers said they had already begun to withdraw regulatory approval requests after the deal was paused.

"Blue Cross NC and Cambia look forward to ongoing collaboration as licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and will continue to make strategically aligned investments together as co-owners of Echo Health Ventures," they said in a statement.

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Under the affiliation plan, the two insurers would share a corporate structure but would still operate with local independence. Conway was tapped to lead the joint company as its CEO.

Conway resigned from his post at Blue Cross NC amid the firestorm surrounding his arrest.

"I also understand that I must continue to work hard to earn back the trust I’ve lost based on my actions," Conway said in a statement on his Twitter account. "I therefore am resigning my position as CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, and will continue to respect and honor the legal process. In time, I look forward to continuing my work ensuring everyone has access to high quality, affordable healthcare."