Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Dakota will be giving about $27 million in reserves back to policyholders starting in mid-November.

North Dakota Insurance Commissioner James Poolman asked North Dakota Blue, Bismarck, N.D., to make the refunds after he concluded that the level of reserves at the nonprofit mutual insurance company had grown higher than it ought to be.

The refund amounts to about 80% of August premium revenue, according to officials at the North Dakota Insurance Department.

The refund will go to Nodakare program subscribers and Noridian student health plan subscribers as well as to commercial customers, because the commercial, Nodacare and Noridian student health plan lines all have contributed to increases in North Dakota Blue’s reserves in recent years, the company says.

North Dakota Blue will not be sending refunds to members of self-funded employer group plans, holders of the company’s Medicare supplement policies, or consumers covered through the North Dakota Public Employees Retirement System.

Those lines of business “have not contributed significantly to recent increases in the company’s financial reserves,” according to North Dakota Blue.

Employer plan sponsors that receive refunds can decide what they want to do with the refunds, North Dakota Blue says.

A state law forbids North Dakota Blue from paying dividends. North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem cleared the way for the upcoming refund in September, by ruling that a refund of premiums is different from a dividend payment used to give stockholders a return on their investments.