Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon wants to raise their rates 22%. The rate increase, which would take effect August 1, would affect 59,000 policyholders who have individual health plans. Regence BlueCross BlueShield dominates the individual insurance plan market in Oregon.
The Oregon Insurance Division will need to approve the rate increase and is holding a rare public hearing this week to help ease the outrage the announcement has caused. (The Insurance Division is responsible for reviewing rate increases that affect about 12% of Oregonians who have individual health care plans or other kinds of insurance that don’t fit into the large employer group plan model.)
This would not be the first time the company has dramatically increased their rates. In 2009, they fought for a 14.7% rate hike, and in 2008 their rates went up by 26%. The insurer defended its most recent rate increase request, saying that the company’s costs have gone up.
Do you have an individual health care plan through Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon? How would the rate increase affect you?
- Cheryl Martinis: Public information officer for the Oregon Insurance Division
- Jared Short: President of Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon
- Laura Etherton: Health Care Advocate and director of the Health Insurance Rate Watch project for OSPIRG