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Oregon Public Broadcasting
Kristian Foden-Vencil

An Oregon consumer group says the 16 companies that have proposed insurance rates for the state's new health exchange, haven't offered adequate justification for prices. 

The Oregon State Public Interest Research Group was given a federal grant to look into the proposed health insurance rates. Spokesman Jesse O'Brien says insurance companies appear to be overstating how much medical costs will increase in the future, while understating the cost-savings of health reforms.

O'Brien said, "We really are concerned that it does not look like Oregon insurers are doing all they can to reduce costs and improve quality of care. And we think this really is the biggest opportunity that we have with this process."

O'Brien says some insurers are proposing rates twice as high as other insurers -- for the same coverage. 

A spokeswoman with America's Health Insurance Plans, a national group that represents health insurers, says the OSPIRG study misses aspects of the rate setting process. 

The Oregon Insurance Division is in the process of scrutinizing those rates for the new health exchange.

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