Health insurance providers in Oregon have been seeking approval for rate increases for nearly a year. Some may be getting their wish, but will not be able to raise rates as much as they had originally planned. The Oregon Insurance Division of the Department of Consumer and Business Services has granted approval for half of the rate proposals they have been reviewing over the past year. While many companies will not see the increases they had hoped for, consumers stand to save more money on their policies.
The Division approved 20 proposals in total, down nearly 4% from previous years. Overall, denied proposals and approvals for modest rate increases account for more than $25 million in savings to residents. This is due to new regulatory laws passed in 2009, which took effect in 2010. These laws gave Oregon much stronger authority in regulating the insurance industry.
“The Division has new tools available and we are using them to scrutinize each rate filing to achieve maximum savings for consumers,” says Teresa Miller, administrator of the Insurance Division. As of April 2010, the Division has the ability to consider a number of factors when reviewing rate increase proposals. Among those factors is an insurance company’s ability to generate profit.
Additionally, the federal government will be providing tax credits to the state in 2014 to broaden Medicaid eligibility. Nearly 32 million uninsured residents in the state stand to obtain coverage through this initiative.