The Oregon Insurance Division has approved health insurance premiums for 2014. Consumers can see examples of the premiums HERE.
Twelve insurance companies and two consumer operated and oriented plans (COOPs) submitted rates for approval for individual or small employer markets, meaning consumers will see plenty of choice in Oregon's competitive health insurance market.
The approved rates come after two months of review that included public hearings and analysis of the justifications that companies used for their proposed rates. Ultimately, the Insurance Division lowered rates for individual plans from a few percentage points to 30 percentage points. For small employers, the Insurance Division reduced rates from requested amounts up to 12 percentage points.
The 2014 rates are affected by changes in the new plans compared to those offered in the past. With new consumer protections, plans cannot reject people with pre-existing conditions and there are new minimum requirements for preventive care and other benefits. Also, the "age gap" has been narrowed so older people may see a decrease in premiums while younger people could see an increase.
"The base premiums offered for health plans in 2014 have gone through a rigorous and transparent public process that overall has resulted in costs being reduced below what was proposed," Insurance Commissioner Lou Savage said.
An individual's premium will be based on geography, age, family size, tobacco use, and whether the plan is purchased through Cover Oregon, the state's new health insurance marketplace. Financial help is available through Cover Oregon for some individuals, families, and small businesses.
Now that the division has approved rates, insurance companies and Cover Oregon will create consumer-friendly materials showing a variety of plans with costs and benefits. Cover Oregon Cover Oregon will show side-by-side plan comparisons starting in October 2013. People who qualify for financial help must shop through Cover Oregon to take advantage of the premium subsidies available by income.