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Oklahoma Health Insurers Seek Large Rate Increases For 2016

health insurance cards and dollar bills
Lindsey Whelchel
Oklahoma Watch

Oklahomans who buy health insurance for next year from the largest insurer on the Affordable Care Act marketplace could face double-digit rate increases running as high as 44 percent, filings with the federal government show. 

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oklahoma, the leading insurer on the exchange, is proposing unsubsidized rate increases that average 31 percent for 2016, filings indicate. Mike Rhoads, deputy commissioner of the Oklahoma Insurance Department, said he expects the requested increases to be granted in full. 

People eligible for subsidized premiums would not be hit as hard, but would still face the same percentage increase on the portion of the costs they pay. 

Insurance Department officials say a main reason for the requested hikes is that insurers have ended up paying more in claims than expected, due to medical cost inflation, higher prescription drug costs and greater demands for medical treatment.

Oklahoma Watch is a nonprofit journalism organization that produces in-depth and investigative content on a range of public-policy issues facing the state.

Oklahoma Watch is a non-profit organization that produces in-depth and investigative journalism on important public-policy issues facing the state. Oklahoma Watch is non-partisan and strives to be balanced, fair, accurate and comprehensive. The reporting project collaborates on occasion with other news outlets. Topics of particular interest include poverty, education, health care, the young and the old, and the disadvantaged.
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