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10:26 am
Fri September 16, 2011

Oregon eyes insurance rate increase

SALEM, Ore. - Customers of one of Oregon's largest health insurance companies may see a large rate increase soon. State insurance regulators held a rare public hearing Wednesday on the request by ODS Health Plan to hike its rates an average of 10 percent. A decision on the requested rate hike could come next month.

The increase would affect about 26,000 Oregonians, mostly individuals and people who work at small businesses. ODS says it needs to increase rates because of rising health care costs. Company officials told Oregon insurance regulators that the proposed hike would keep its rates in line with the competition. But opponents noted that the possible increase follows two years of consecutive 17 percent rate increases by ODS. Laura Etherton is with the consumer advocacy group OSPIRG.

"It's pretty hard for consumers and families to afford rising costs, and so it's just absolutely critical that the insurance division examine this filing very closely and make sure that every cent is justified," Etherton says.

Earlier this year, Oregon’s insurance division rejected a proposed 22 percent health insurance rate increase by Regence BlueCross BlueShield. State regulators instead approved a 12 percent rate hike.

Copyright 2011 Northwest News Network

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