Reasonable Insurance Premium Coalition
Our PurposeThe Reasonable Insurance Premium Coalition (RIPC) has been formed to bring down the cost of health insurance premiums for individuals and small businesses in Oregon.
The ProblemOregon health insurance premium increases are out of control. The average monthly health insurance premium in Oregon has risen from $184 for a single person in 1998 to $365 for a single person in 2008. For family coverage, the monthly premium rose from $467 in 1998 to $1,049 in 2008 (Oregon Insurance Division, 2010). In 2008 and 2009, the individual market experienced sharp increases in annual premiums, averaging 17.7% and 17.1%, respectively.
Oregonian editorial, May 2011: "We don't know whether Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon can fully justify the whopping 22.1 percent average premium increase it seeks for nearly 60,000 Oregon consumers with individual policies. We're not actuaries. But one thing is clear: It's lonely out there in the individual insurance market, where there's no safety in numbers." Read more...
Portland Business Journal, June 2011:
Watch the YouTube video "Insurance Rates Are Squeezing Small Businesses" - May 2011
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According to Graves (2009): (see article)
"Average premiums for individuals and small businesses have climbed by more than 140% in seven years. In Oregon, insurance premium increases are forcing small business and individuals to join the growing ranks of the uninsured. The number of Oregonians covered by commercial insurance dropped by 88,000 between early 2008 and last summer (2009), many of whom joined the estimated 614,000 residents already without insurance.
The health reform package, passed by the Oregon Legislature in 2009, covers an additional 80,000 Oregon kids and 35,000 adults. This increased coverage should mean lower premiums for small businesses and those who already have insurance, since fewer people will be receiving uncompensated care in Oregon's emergency rooms and more people will have access to primary and preventive care. Lower premiums, however, are not occurring. Oregon's commercial insurance carriers, with few exceptions, are continuing to increase premiums exponentially for small businesses and individuals.
According to Rosenfeld (2010): (see article)
More than 500,000 Oregonians covered by an individual or small group plan saw their insurance costs increase on average between 10% and 22% this year (2010). All but Providence Health Plans and LifeWise small groups saw their health insurance premiums increase by at least 10%. Topping the spikes, HealthNet of Oregon increased the premiums of 5,500 individual members by 22% on average. The Oregon Insurance Division approved all but two proposed rate increases by insurers this year. After reducing a HealthNet increase on small group plans by 1 percentage point (from 13.5 % to 12.5% on 37,189 individuals) HealthNet withdrew its application. It still had a 12.2% increase enacted in April.
Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon too was denied a 25.3% increase in April on 73,271 individual members in favor of a 16% increase approved by the Division. Regence's 57,000 small group members saw their premiums increase 12%. The insurer is currently asking the state for a 13.7% increase on small group plans in October, one of three rate requests currently pending.
The SolutionRecognizing that small businesses and individual health insurance market consumers do not have the actuarial, legal and lobbying expertise to contest these premium increases, the Reasonable Insurance Premium Coalition has been formed to advocate for small business and those in the individual market to make sure that proposed health insurance premium increases are truly justified.
While we are encouraged that the Insurance Division passed rules that health insurers could not redact parts of their rate filing and while the Insurance Division has begun to trim back some premium increase requests, much more needs to be done. Read more here and here.
5257 NE Martin Luther King Ave, Suite 100
Portland, OR 97211