Individual Oregonians' Health Insurance Rates May Increase By Nearly 22 Percent Next Year

By Kristian Foden-Vencil (OPB)
Portland, Oregon May 16, 2017 6:40 p.m.

Individual Oregonians who buy health insurance through may see rates jump by nearly 22 percent next year.

PacificSource is seeking the lowest rate increase at about 7 percent. ATRIO Health is looking for the highest — at 21.8 percent.


But these numbers are proposed rates as of now.

Jake Sunderland with the Oregon Consumer Department said his agency will take requests from health insurance providers and conduct a rigorous review before approving any increases.

“We will look at every single rate, every single piece of data to make sure that the amount of money that insurance companies want to charge is justified, and also that they’re adequate enough to pay claims," he said.


Sunderland said it’s too soon to know whether the rates have been affected by federal changes to the Affordable Care Act. But insurance companies don’t like uncertainty.

“Today’s news reflects the Trump administration’s continued efforts to sow chaos about the future of individual markets around the country with overt threats of sabotage," Oregon Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden said in a statement.

"The Trump administration and Republicans in Congress should quit playing games with the future of Oregonians’ health care and work with me and other Democrats on lasting improvements to our health care system.”

If there is a silver lining to the increases, it’s that the proposed rate increases are significantly less than previous years. The proposed average increase for all companies next year is 15 percent.

Last year and the year before, the actual increases amounted to 23 percent and 27 percent.

Eight companies remain in the marketplace for people buying insurance for themselves, rather than through an employer. That's less than in previous years. Four insurance carriers have left — mainly because of financial pressures.

“We know there are still many unknowns facing insurers and consumers as we look ahead to 2018,” Laura Cali, Oregon's insurance commissioner, said in a statement. “Now that the filings are in, we will begin our vigorous review to ensure the proposed rate changes, including the potential impact of various sources of uncertainty, are actuarially sound and justified.”

Final decisions on the rates will be released in July.