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Oregon’s Largest Health Insurer Wants 22% Premium Hike

Add another state to the list of those whose biggest health insurer wants a double-digit premium increase: Oregon.

Oregon’s largest health insurer, Regence BlueCross BlueShield, wants to raise premiums by more than 22 percent for 59,000 customers with individual coverage.

Exciting news, though:

Oregon’s Insurance Division will hold a rare public hearing on Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon’s 22.1 percent rate increase request.

How rare is rare?

The rate request hearing is the state’s first in more than 20 years.

“This request stands out in both size and the size of the audience” it would affect, said Cheryl Martinis, a division spokeswoman.

Regence BC/BS feels people’s pain:

“Premium increases are difficult for the entire community, but especially those members who must bear the cost of individual policies,” the company wrote. “At Regence we are focused on increasing efficiency, reducing administrative costs and holding true to our nonprofit mission as part of a larger strategy to reduce costs to members. Health care costs for our individual pool are increasing, while the number of people sharing the burden of those costs is shrinking.” …

The public hearing is June 2nd.

The hearing will be from 4:30 to 7 p.m. in the Portland State Office Building, 800 NE Oregon St., Portland. Once Regence outlines its proposed increase, public testimony will be accepted.

OSPIRG, an advocacy group the division funds to comment on behalf of consumers, will be invited to submit questions in advance and the division will request that Regence respond to those questions. OSPIRG will also be invited to testify at the hearing.

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Teddy Partridge

Teddy Partridge

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