News Release

Regence Rate Hike Could Hit 25% for Some Businesses

According to a new analysis conducted by OSPIRG Foundation’s Health Insurance Rate Watch project, Regence has more work to do to justify their pending rate hike.

The insurance company is proposing a 10.8% average premium increase on small businesses, affecting over 54,000 Oregonians. Employers may experience actual rate hikes ranging from 0.5% to a 25.1%. If approved, the rate increase would go into effect on July 1, 2011.

“We’re concerned Regence hasn’t adequately made the case for the rate increase,” said Laura Etherton, OSPIRG health care advocate, “They need to explain more fully why they are basing the increase largely on the assumption that their medical claims costs will rise at nearly twice the rate that they’ve actually risen over the last two years.”

The group submitted their analysis to the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS) yesterday as part of the public comment period on the pending Regence filing. The OSPIRG Foundation Health Insurance Rate Watch project is funded in part through a grant of federal funds from DCBS to provide consumer comments on rate filings. The project’s advisory committee draws on expertise both from small businesses and from consumer experts including Consumers Union and AARP-Oregon.

“We’re glad to have the opportunity to provide a consumer perspective, and urge DCBS to scrutinize this filing closely,” said Etherton. “With Oregon small businesses and their employees facing double digit rate hikes like this year after year, its critical for DCBS to hold insurers accountable.”

You can read a summary of the OSPIRG Foundation analysis, and download the full document here:  http://tinyurl.com/3apwu42

You can read the pending rate increase proposal on the Oregon Insurance Division website by clicking here:  http://tinyurl.com/3m5ezbj

More information about Oregon’s health insurance rate review process:  http://insurance.oregon.gov/insurer/rates_forms/health_rate_filings/health-rate-filing-search.html

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