KGOU

Oklahoma Health Insurers Seek Large Rate Increases For 2016

Jul 21, 2015

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.