State agency says too early to tell COVID-19 impact
SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) – Oregon consumers can get a first look at requested rates for 2021 individual and small group health insurance plans, the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services announced Wednesday.
In the individual market, six companies submitted rate change requests ranging from an average 3.5 percent decrease to an average 11.1 percent increase, for a weighted average of 2.2 percent. In the small group market, nine companies submitted rate change requests ranging from an average 1.1 percent decrease to an average 7.9 percent increase, for a weighted average of 3.9 percent. See the chart for the full list of rate change requests.
Moderate rate increase requests, recent health insurance company financial statements, and three insurers looking to offer on-exchange plans statewide, up from one in 2020, reveal that the Oregon health insurance market is stable and able to provide multiple health insurance options for all Oregonians, officials said.
“It’s early in the process, but it is encouraging to see more carriers expand their coverage area statewide and another year of modest rate change requests,” said Insurance Commissioner and acting DCBS Director Andrew Stolfi. “The initial data reveals that Oregon’s reinsurance program continues to provide premium relief and stabilization for the market.”
The Oregon Reinsurance Program continues to help stabilize the market and lower rates while threats at the federal level provide continued uncertainty and remain a significant factor for rising premiums. Reinsurance lowered rates by 6 percent for the third straight year. Meanwhile, federal policy changes and multiple court cases continue to instill doubt and add to rate increases.
Health insurance companies submitted rate requests to the department’s Division of Financial Regulation on May 18. The requested rates are for plans that comply with the Affordable Care Act for small businesses and individuals who buy their own coverage rather than getting it through an employer.
The division must review and approve rates before they are charged to policyholders. Over the next two months, the division will analyze the requested rates to ensure they adequately cover Oregonians’ health care costs.
This review will include accounting for recent COVID-19 claims experience and ongoing risks created by the pandemic. It is too early to understand the effect COVID-19 relief efforts will have on health insurance rates, but the state’s rate review process provides the opportunity to gather and analyze more data before final rate decisions are made.
Oregonians will soon be able to compare their health plans and submit comments about the initial rates at oregonhealthrates.com. Public hearing dates will also be posted to the site.
“We look forward to a thorough public review of these filings as we work to establish next year’s health insurance rates,” said Stolfi. “We encourage all Oregonians to review these initial rate requests and provide feedback on their health insurance plans.”
Oregonians are encouraged to comment on rate change requests during the public comment period, which opens later this month and runs through June 30. The public can submit comments at oregonhealthrates.com and during the public rate hearings.
Preliminary decisions are expected to be announced in early July, and final decisions will be made in early August.
About DCBS: The Department of Consumer and Business Services is Oregon's largest business regulatory and consumer protection agency. For more information, go to www.dcbs.oregon.gov.
About Oregon DFR: The Division of Financial Regulation is part of the Department of Consumer and Business Services, Oregon’s largest business regulatory and consumer protection agency. Visit www.dcbs.oregon.gov and www.dfr.oregosn.gov.