News Release

Analysis of Proposed 9.94% ODS Health Plan Rate Hike

ODS Health Plan will defend its proposal to raise rates nearly 10% on over 26,000 Oregonians at a public hearing today in Salem.

The increase comes after two back-to-back years of increases exceeding 17%. If approved, the average rate will have soared 52% for individual policyholders over the last three years.

Coinciding with the hearing, consumer advocates at OSPIRG Foundation’s Health Insurance Rate Watch Project released an analysis of the proposed rate increase

“The rate filing includes some good news for consumers – such as some generic drug copays going down to $2.00,” said Laura Etherton, OSPIRG Foundation health care advocate, “but we are also concerned that the full 9.94% wasn’t adequately justified in the rate filing.”

The OSPIRG Foundation analysis outlines key concerns, including:

• A low percentage of premium expected to go to medical care – just barely above the 80% required minimum;

• High administrative costs – including rapidly rising agent and broker commissions that may be excessive;

• Potentially inflated projections for medical costs – due to the recent cost slowdown due to the poor; economy not being factored into the projections; and

• The need for more aggressive efforts on ODS’ part to lower the cost of care by cutting waste and improving prevention.

“In this economy, individuals and families are struggling to keep up with rising premiums and out-of-pocket costs,” said Etherton, “DCBS should make sure every cent of this increase is justified, and protect consumers from bearing excessive costs.”

The hearing will take place on September 14th from 2:00-3:30pm, in Room 260 of the Labor and Industries Building, 350 Winter St. NE, Salem. More information on the hearing is available on the Oregon Insurance Division’s website:  http://www.oregonhealthrates.org/?pg=public_hearing.html

Consumers can read the ODS Health Plan proposal and post a comment of their own. The deadline for public comments is September 20, 2011.

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