Oregon Tells Insurance Companies to Raise Healthcare Premiums Higher than Requested


While most states have been experiencing higher and higher healthcare premium rates, Oregon residents have had the pleasure of paying some of the lowest rates in the nation. However, thanks to the state those lower than average rates are going to jump significantly for 2016.

The ironic part of this is that most huge rate increases throughout the nation are being requested by the insurance companies. Earlier this month I reported:

“Perhaps the weakening support and growing opposition has been sparked by the rate increases being requested in many states as reported by Michael D. Tanner:”

“Already we’ve seen requests for increases for individual plans as high as 64.8 percent in Texas, 61 percent in Pennsylvania, 51.6 percent in New Mexico, 36.3 percent in Tennessee, 30.4 percent in Maryland, 25 percent in Oregon, and 19.9 percent in Washington. Those increases would come on top of premium increases last year that were 24.4 percent above what they would have been without Obamacare, according to a study from the National Bureau of Economic Research. At the same time, deductibles for the cheapest Obamacare plans now average about $5,180 for individuals and $10,500 for families.”

Now I find out that the 25% increase for Oregon was for one insurance carrier and not all. Moda Health Plan asked for and received a 25.6% rate increase for 2016. This one carrier handles nearly half of the private plans purchased by 220,000 Oregonians. That means that about 110,000 policy holders are going to see a very sizeable increase in their 2016 premiums. For instance, a private plan costing $300 a month will jump to around $377 a month. That’s an increase of over $900 a year and I seriously doubt if their income increased to match the added cost.

Other insurance carriers in the state requested much lower increases and in fact, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Northwest requested approval to cut their rates by an average of 2%. But Oregon’s liberally run state government just couldn’t allow their people to actually pay less for their coverage and told Kaiser that they needed to raise their rates by an average of 8.3%.

But wait, there’s more!

Trillium Community Health Plan submitted a request to the state of Oregon to raise their 2016 rates by an average of 5%. The state told them they needed to raise their rates by 12.4%. Oregon’s Health CO-OP requested a rate increase of 5.3% only to have the state tell them they needed to raise their rates by 19.9%.

A relatively new insurance carrier in the state is Zoom Health. They had proposed to charge a 40 year old man $233 a month for the lowest silver plan. However, the state is recommending they charge $291 a month for the plan; a 25% increase from what the company proposed.

The reason given for the additional rate increases may be due to the fact that healthcare insurance companies collected $703 million in premiums last year but paid out $830 in claims.

Pat Allen, Director of Oregon’s Consumer and Business Services explained:

“We need to ensure a market that long term is stable, competitive and insurers pricing that is much closer to the cost of delivering health care.”

The increases haven’t been finalized, but soon will be.

Once billed as a model of affordable healthcare, Oregon is rapidly joining the ranks of the rest of the nation in jacking up their healthcare premiums by double digit increases. Undoubtedly, there are going to be a lot of very unhappy people in the Northwest’s most liberal state and more than a few that will end up cancelling their healthcare because they can no longer afford it. The same thing will be happening all over the nation as the skyrocketing costs of 2016 begin hitting mailboxes from coast to coast. I expect the number of uninsured Americans to continue to climb at nearly the rate as the premium increases that will be handed out.

At this rate, the end of the Affordable Care Act cannot be that far away!

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