Ways to Connect

BlueCross BlueShield is apologizing to customers frustrated by bank account overdrafts and long waits on the phone last week. The problems affected a small percentage of customers in the individual market.

The individual market consists of people who buy insurance directly from an insurance company or on the Obamacare exchanges. BlueCross BlueShield caused about 3,200 of those customers to overdraw their bank accounts.

Brian Strickland /

Next week, UNC-Chapel Hill is launching a physician assistant program largely designed for military veterans. As the U.S. military’s drawdown plays out in a big way in North Carolina, the idea is to help troops with medical training turn their experience into jobs – and better health care.

The recently-named CEO of a planned mental health care program in Charlotte has resigned, after about one month on the job. The HopeWay Foundation says Daniel Brown stepped down December 10 to return to his previous employer, Albemarle-based behavioral health care provider Monarch. 

In a statement, Brown cited “family considerations” for his decision. HopeWay co-founder Bill Blue says the organization is resuming its search for a CEO.    

North Carolina is among about 17 states that have recently legalized a marijuana extract for the treatment of children with epilepsy. Amazing turnaround stories from parents and their kids have driven the change, but some in the medical community have cautioned there's yet to be a national study. Now, there is, and doctors found the treatment has great potential.

North Carolina showed the most improvement of any state in a major public health report released Thursday. But its ranking is still below average, like most of the South.

Health insurance companies will pay North Carolinians $8.5 million in rebates. It's the latest round of payments required under Obamacare if insurers spend too much on profits or administrative costs.

Brian Strickland /

The name that UNC Health Care is giving a children's clinic in Raleigh has been raising a lot of eyebrows. It'd be called the Krispy Kreme Challenge Children's Specialty Clinic. But criticism from the medical community at UNC and elsewhere is making the health care system rethink that choice.

Sometimes it really is just in your head.

Wake Forest researchers have found that mindfulness meditation has a significant impact on pain relief compared to using a placebo. screenshot

On the Obamacare exchanges, there are large disparities in how health insurance premiums are changing next year based on where you live. While coverage is getting cheaper in states like Indiana and Mississippi, in North Carolina, it's becoming much more expensive. Federal data show that North Carolina's average premium increase is among the highest in the country.

A doctor in Hickory pleaded guilty Monday to charging Medicare and Medicaid nearly half a million dollars in fraudulent reimbursement claims. It's the latest example of how the U.S. Attorney's office in Charlotte is building a reputation for being especially aggressive in prosecuting health care fraud.