Members of "Jobs With Justice" gathered outside the Portland headquarters of Regence Blue Cross/Blue Shield Wednesday to protest the company's plan to increase some insurance premiums by 22 percent.
The company says the increase is needed because health care costs for individuals are increasing, while the number of people sharing those costs is shrinking.
But labor unions and community groups say individuals are simply being priced out of healthcare.
Peter Shapiro of "Jobs With Justice," says if this latest hike goes through, it would be the company's fifth double-digit increase in a year-and-a-half.
"As far as medical costs are concerned, they're rising at about 7 percent a year. That's about two or three times the rate of inflation, but it's no where near the rate at which Blue Cross has been raising its premiums. There's clearly something else going on here," Shapiro said.
The company says it has lost $100 million on this kind of "individual" insurance over the last five years. So an increase is needed to protect itself against future losses.
The state has taken the unusual step of scheduling a public hearing on the increase, June 2.