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Oregon Exchange Releases Proposed Prices, Insurance Co. Considers Drop

OPB | May 14, 2013 12:57 p.m.

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At least one health insurance company may lower rates — following the release of proposed prices on Oregon’s new health insurance exchange.  The state has given all insurers until Friday to make price adjustments. 

Oregon unveiled its new health insurance marketplace last week. It’s  where individuals and small businesses will be able to buy insurance. The state specified the benefits insurers have to offer, and asked how much they would charge. That way, consumers could make easy comparisons. Prices were highly variable. For example, a single 40-year-old Portlander could pick between plans that would cost  $169 and $450 a month — for the same coverage.  Now, Providence Health Plan has asked the state to reduce its proposed prices by an average 15 percent.  

Cheryl Martinis is with the Oregon Insurance Division. She says the exchange looks like it’ll be highly competitive.

Martinis said, “It’s a glimpse of what’s to come in the future because health insurance rates will be more transparent than ever before.” 

Providence Chief operating officer Michael White says the company made incorrect assumptions that it needed to adjust. Consumers can start to use the exchange in October. 

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