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Ask anyone with an individual or small business health insurance plan, and they'll tell you they are seeing double digit rate hikes more and more these days.
A new OSPIRG Foundation report details how bad it has gotten. Oregon health insurance companies raised average rates four times above the rate of inflation (14.2%) in 2008 on individual, small business and portability plans affecting 443,365 people. This includes over 133,000 Oregonians who were hit with premium increases of 21% or more.
Insurance companies’ administrative costs shot up by an average of 13.3%, 3.9 times the rate of inflation. Excessive administrative expenses have been identified by the Oregon Health Fund Board and other experts as an element of skyrocketing health care costs.
“Enough is enough,” said OSPIRG advocate Laura Etherton, “Oregonians need strong rules to protect consumers and businesses from skyrocketing costs.”
The Oregon Legislature is currently considering a package of health reform bills targeting waste in the health care and health insurance systems.
HB 3145 would stop excessive rate hikes and bring more transparency and public input into the rate approval process. The bill requires insurers to justify rate increases and limit administrative cost increases to the rate inflation.
“If health insurance companies want to raise rates, they should meet high standards showing they are operating as efficiently as possible, that they are making an effort to cut wasteful spending, and that any rate hike is necessary, justified and not excessive,” said Etherton.
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