Exec steps down amid ongoing tech issues for BCBS of North Carolina

The chief operating officer of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina has resigned amid ongoing technology failures that have put the insurer into hot water with customers and state officials alike.

BCBSNC has been grappling with a crisis since January after it transferred to a new software program which led to widespread enrollment and billing issues. The insurer has had to refund millions to overbilled customers, and state Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin has said he's looking into ways to fine BCBSNC for failing to resolve the problem in a timely manner.

On Tuesday, BCBSNC announced COO Alan Hughes' resignation, replacing him with Chief Financial Officer Gerald Petkau. Though the announcement gave no reason for Hughes' departure, he had overseen the botched software implementation that is at the root of the insurer's continued struggles, the Charlotte News-Observer reports.

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Hughes' compensation package, meanwhile, was upped to $1.77 million last year, from $1.19 million in 2014, the article notes.

In a "town hall" meeting held in March, Hughes told employees that "what we've experienced this year cannot happen again--absolutely cannot happen again," according to the News-Observer. He added that the insurer was striving to make sure the issues are fixed in time for the upcoming open enrollment period, which starts Nov. 1.

But BCBSNC CEO Brad Wilson warned at the meeting that the insurer is "nowhere near out of the woods" when it comes to solving its operational issues. He also said he has personally spoken with more than 200 customers to apologize for the insurer's troubles.

Beyond its tech problems, BCBSNC also has posted heavy financial losses on its individual market products, and it may consider exiting the Affordable Care Act marketplaces.

To learn more:
- here's BCBSNC's announcement
- read the News-Observer article

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