Regence refuses to publicly release rate hike documents

Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oregon is refusing to publicly release documents related to its proposed 9.6 percent rate hike affecting more than 52,000 consumers.

Officials from Oregon's insurance department have repeatedly asked Regence to provide more information to support its claim that the premium increase is needed because of rising costs from its five provider networks. However, Regence has refused to share the requested documents, according to The Lund Report.

An analysis from the Oregon State Public Interest Research Group (OSPIRG), a consumer advocacy group that contracts with the state insurance department, also found that Regence hasn't sufficiently justified its need to raise the premiums, FierceHealthPayer previously reported.

But Regence agreed Thursday to let state officials review the requested documents in its Portland offices. "Regence objects to publicly producing documents that would result in competitive harm to Regence and, more importantly, its current and future members," Regence President Don Antonucci wrote in a letter to Oregon Insurance Commissioner Lou Savage.

"The requested information seeks details on how Regence contracts and the actual pricing with its health delivery systems to keep healthcare costs as low as possible for its members," Antonucci added. "Disclosure of this information to Regence's competitors and its health delivery systems would weaken the current competitive advantage that Regence uses to assist its current and future members."

OSPIRG, however, is questioning the legality of the insurance department reviewing rate-related documents in private. Jesse Ellis O'Brien, healthcare advocate for OSPIRG, told the Lund Report that Oregon law requires all correspondence determining rate increases must be public. "We question the transparency of this process, and this raises serious questions for us," he added.

To learn more:
- read the Lund Report article