State seeking feedback from Oregonians about proposed health insurance rate increases

State regulators want to hear from Oregonians about insurance companies’ plans to increase costs in 2024. 

Each year, the state’s Division of Financial Regulation holds public hearings before deciding whether to approve requests from insurance companies to increase rates for two types of plans: small businesses with 50 or fewer employees and individual plans for people who purchase their own coverage rather than through an employer. Larger employers negotiate rates directly with insurers and those are not regulated by the state.

The hearings on Aug. 4 will allow people to voice any concerns or objections to proposals that would impact how much they pay for insurance coverage. Insurers will give their pitch on why the increases, which average 6.2% for individual plans and 12.1% for small business plans, are necessary.

In the market for individual plans, six insurers submitted rate proposals that seek average increases ranging from 3.5% to 8.5%. That’s a weighted average increase of 6.2% for the plans, based on their size. 

Individuals would see higher or lower increases based on the type of plan. The average 40-year-old Portland resident with a silver plan would pay between $467 and $537 in monthly premiums after increases, depending on the insurer. 

Providence Health Plan has the highest proposed rate increase of 8.5%. Its proposal would affect nearly 50,000 Oregonians, the most of all insurers that provide individual market plans.

PacificSource Health Plans submitted the lowest proposed increase of 3.5%, which would affect about 17,000 people. 

In the market for small employers, eight insurers requested rate increases that range from 0.8% to 12.4% on average. That’s a weighted average increase of 8.1%, which is higher than the requests submitted last year. In 2022, insurers sought an average increase of 6.9%. 

Proposals from the two largest insurers are:

  • Providence Health Plan requested a 12.4% average increase for small employer plans, which affects nearly 53,000 people.
  • Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon requested a 6.1% average increase, which affects about 42,000 people.

State regulators will make preliminary decisions before the Aug. 4 hearing but will make final decisions about whether to deny or approve the requests in August after the public hearing. 

More information:

The Division of Financial Regulation will have virtual two public hearings about insurers’ requested rates on Friday, Aug. 4. The first is from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. and the next is from 1 to 4 p.m. 

Go here to access the virtual hearings.

Go here to see the requested rates from insurers.

Go here to read detailed rate requests from insurers and submit written public comments before Aug. 4.

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Ben Botkin - Oregon Capital Chronicle

Ben Botkin covers justice, health and social services issues for the Oregon Capital Chronicle. He has been a reporter since 2003, when he drove from his Midwest locale to Idaho for his first journalism job. He has written extensively about politics and state agencies in Idaho, Nevada and Oregon. Most recently, he covered health care and the Oregon Legislature for The Lund Report. Botkin has won multiple journalism awards for his investigative and enterprise reporting, including on education, state budgets and criminal justice.