Consumer Group Says Proposed Health Insurance Rate Hikes 'Unjustified'

Health insurance companies haven’t justified their proposed increases for next year, according to an analysis by Oregon Public Interest Research Group.

The insurance company with the largest enrollment, Moda, is asking for a 25 percent increase next year. LifeWise wants 37 percent and PacificSource is after 42 percent.

The companies say those numbers are justified. They point to all the previously uninsured people who signed up for insurance last year and used a lot of services.

OSPIRG receives a federal grant to look into these increases. The cost spike is likely temporary, said Jesse O’Brien, a health-care advocate with the consumer group.

“The cost of providing medical service to those individuals who’ve been blocked from coverage for many years is very likely to go down in future years as their conditions require fewer acute interventions and become more manageable,” he said.

The Oregon Insurance Division is holding public hearings on the proposed new rates this month. It’s expected to decide final rates by July 1.

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