Regence wins approval of 8.9% rate hike in Oregon

Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oregon is raising its premium rates for members with individual health plans by an average 8.9 percent.

Although Regence initially requested a 9.6 percent rate hike, the Oregon Insurance Division's decision lowered the allowed increase, which will affect about 52,000 members, reported The Oregonian.

Meanwhile, Regence is raising the deductible for its individual members to $2,500 and eliminating mental health services, complimentary care and routine eye exams. It also will charge more for prescriptions, the Portland Business Journal reported.

Regence President Don Antonucci announced the decision last week in a statement, claiming the changes will help control costs. "As we work to reduce our costs and reward providers for quality health outcomes, we ask for the support of doctors, hospitals, elected officials, other insurance companies, and all other health care stakeholders to step forward to make health care more affordable," he added.

Although the Oregon State Public Interest Research Group (OSPIRG) claimed Regence didn't sufficiently justify its 9.6 percent rate hike, state insurance division officials reviewed some of the insurer's provider contracts and determined that it had "legitimate reasons" for setting its new rate, according to the Lund Report.

To learn more:
- read The Oregonian article
- see the Lund Report article
- check out the Portland Business Journal article
- read the Regence statement