Oregon Insurance Division approves Regence request to reduce premium increase

PORTLAND, Ore – Today, Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon received notice that the Oregon Insurance Division has approved a request by the company to reduce a scheduled premium increase to small business customers in 2012.

In an effort to lower financial impact to small business owners’ monthly budgets, Regence voluntarily chose to file new rates with the Division to reduce its scheduled increase on April 1, 2012. After review, the Division and Regence agreed on an annual rate increase of 3.9% for those members renewing in the second quarter. This is a reduction from the previously approved annual increase of 6.9%. This change will save the average small business owner $147 per employee per year.

“We recognize that this decision will still result in a premium increase for small businesses. That is in no way lost on us. However, we are pleased that our work with the Oregon Insurance Division will reduce the impact to the monthly budgets of employers struggling through this challenging economy,” said Don Antonucci, president of Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon. “Our commitment is to our customers and keeping rates as affordable as possible. When we identified an opportunity to lower our already approved rate, we filed quickly to do so.”

Regence made the decision to reduce its previously approved rate adjustment after identifying lower than anticipated medical costs emerging from its Small Group membership.

While Regence will now be able to reduce the amount of premium increase seen by small businesses in 2012, addressing the rising costs in our state’s health care system remains as critical as ever. Regence continues to fight this battle through internal cost stewardship and innovative plan and network design.

In conjunction with this approved rate, Regence will now introduce Oregon Select Adventist and Oregon Select Tuality to the Small Group market. These new network options give small business owners in the Portland metro area the opportunity to reduce the cost of their monthly coverage by selecting either Adventist Health Care or Tuality Health Care as their providers of choice. In doing so, employers can save as much as 9% compared to traditional PPO options.

As Regence works to deliver additional flexibility, choice, and affordability to consumers, we encourage all Oregonians to partner with us in reducing health care cost. Consumers can do this by asking questions during the course of their health care experience. For example, will a generic drug work instead of a name brand? Is the test you’re being asked to take truly necessary? To learn more please visit www.whatstherealcost.org.

About Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon

Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon is a leading health plan in Oregon, with approximately 730,000 members, offering health, life and dental insurance. Regence is the largest health insurer in the Northwest / Intermountain Region, serving nearly 2.5 million members as Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon, Regence BlueShield of Idaho, Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah and Regence BlueShield (selected counties in Washington). Each plan is a nonprofit independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Regence is committed to improving the health of our members and our communities, and to transforming our health care system. For more information, please visit www.regence.com or www.twitter.com/RegenceOregon