Oregon regulators shrink Regence's requested rate increase

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted May 25, 2009

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Citing too-high claims projections and last year's rate hike, Oregon regulators turned down a requested average 19% rate hike from Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon.

Instead, the company will be allowed to raise small group rates by an average of 14.7%. The new rates will take effect July 1 and will affect about 79,000 subscribers.

The Insurance Division of state's Dept. of Consumer and Business Services found that Regence had overestimated the cost of claims for the year and didn't need to contribute to its reserves.

"With health care costs making up a bigger portion of consumers' budgets, we expect insurers to use a sharp pencil," Division Administrator Teresa Miller said in a statement.

Despite losses in its individual health insurance business, the company's reserves remain healthy, the department's statement said.

Regence is based in Portland, Ore., and operates Blues plans for Oregon, Idaho, Utah and Washington.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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