Preliminary rate decisions for Oregon 2019 health plans released
Oregonians can now see the state’s preliminary rate decisions for 2019 individual and small employer health insurance plans. The Division of Financial Regulation must review and approve any rates before they can be charged to policyholders.
Preliminary rate decisions are for small businesses and individuals who buy their own coverage rather than getting it through an employer.
In the individual market, the division has issued preliminary decisions for seven companies with average rate changes ranging from a 9.6 percent decrease to a 10.6 percent increase. Under the preliminary decisions, Silver Standard Plan premiums for a 40-year-old in Portland would range from $414 to $486 a month.
“Although rates are still rising for many consumers, the Oregon Reinsurance Program is continuing to provide some stability and relief,” Insurance Commissioner Andrew Stolfi said. “Without this program, Oregonians who buy their own insurance would see much larger rate increases. Actions taken at the federal level have injected instability into the market and resulted in rate increases, and we are committed to protecting Oregonians’ access to affordable, comprehensive coverage.”
In the small group market, the division has reviewed each of company’s rate request and plans to approve the rates as filed. The average rate increases range from 4 percent decrease to a 9.4 percent increase. Under the preliminary decisions, Silver Standard Plan premiums for a 40-year-old in Portland would range from $295 to $387 a month.
Reasons for the rate changes include:
- The new Oregon Reinsurance Program, which reduced individual market rates by 6.3 percent for 2019.
- Uncertainty in the individual market due to factors such as the reduction of the individual mandate penalty to $0 and federal rules around association health plans and short-term/limited-duration plans.
- Medical costs continue to rise, driven by increased use and the cost of new specialized prescription drugs.
These preliminary decisions will undergo continued review and discussion through public hearings being held in Salem and streamed online July 9-11. The public comment period also will remain open through Wednesday, July 11. There will be a dedicated public comment period during each public rate hearing. For a schedule of hearings and to submit comments online, visit www.oregonhealthrates.org .
Final decisions are expected to be announced Friday, July 20.