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Insurers continue to hike prices, abandon ACA markets

People shopping for insurance through the Affordable Care Act in yet more regions could face higher prices and fewer choices next year as insurance companies lay out their early plans for 2018.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is asking regulators for a 23 percent price hike next year because it doesn’t expect crucial payments from the federal government to continue. That announcement comes a day after Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City said it will leave the individual insurance market next year, a decision that affects about 67,000 people in a 32-county area in Kansas and Missouri.

The Kansas City company’s decision also will leave shoppers in 25 counties with no options for coverage sold on public insurance exchanges, unless another insurer steps in, according to data compiled by The Associated Press and the consulting firm Avalere. The law’s insurance exchanges are the only place where people can buy coverage with help from an income-based tax credit.