Health Insurance Rate Watch RATE ALERT: July 10, 2012
Contact: Jesse O’Brien, OSPIRG Foundation, 503-231-4181x307 (office), 503-504-8627 (cell)
More than 12,000 Oregonians with individual health insurance plans will see rate hikes of 15.7% on average, and as high as 18.6%, if the premium rate hike posted today by Providence Health Plans goes forward. Many customers will also see increased out-of-pocket costs.
OSPIRG Foundation’s Health Insurance Rate Watch Project will monitor the Providence filing and scrutinize their justification for raising rates. If approved, rate increases and plan changes would go into effect in November 2012.
OSPIRG Foundation encourages the general public to participate in Oregon’s rate review process. The Oregon Insurance Division has announced that the rate filing will be subject to a public hearing to be held at 1:30 PM on August 2nd at the Labor and Industries building in Salem: 350 Winter St. NE, room 260.
Providence’s rate filing can be viewed and commented upon online at the following URL: http://www.oregonhealthrates.org/?B64=nZzVWZjFGdvljbo12bl1TJFJ2cvhyd1UmRpZGbul3ZmMETOF1RBV0R9UDMmEFVUh1XPNlU9Q0Qm40QC10XOl1UU9VWFBTPmA0QE10XPNlTJRlTFVVPlNXYjJCayUEMpZGbul3ZmMkUUVVVOJEV98Gat9SZyUXRoN3blcUNzZWZyF2YmgkUPR1XUNVQVRzUQ1URE5USH5kJNNlQD90TQ1UQZ50XB5UT9UFUPJkVElURD5SRyUEMFhUQUxCSyUFMMBUQ%3D4
Background on Oregon’s health insurance rate review program
In 2010, new rules went into effect strengthening the standards that health insurance companies must meet before raising premiums. Insurers must justify rate hikes in writing, showing that they are not excessive and explaining how the insurer is working to reduce costs. All rate filings are public information, available online, and open to public comment. The Oregon Insurance Division evaluates these justifications, and must take public input into consideration. Last year, the Insurance Division began to hold public hearings on significant rate increases.
Since these changes have taken effect, the Oregon Insurance Division has significantly stepped up their scrutiny of health insurers’ rate hike requests. Since 2010, it made cuts to a majority of requests, putting over $37 million back into consumers’ pockets.
OSPIRG Foundation is a non-profit, non-partisan statewide consumer organization. Please visit us at ospirgfoundation