OR Insurance Division hears Regence rate request

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- More than 150 people attended an Oregon Insurance Division public hearing on the request of Regence BlueCross BlueShield to raise individual premiums by an average of 22 percent.

The Oregonian reports the increase would affect nearly 57,000 people in Oregon who are not insured through employers.

Regence CEO Jared Short said at Thursday's hearing in Portland the increase is needed to cover rising costs related to the federal health care law. He said it would cost customers an average of $37 more a month.

Laura Etherton of the Oregon State Public Interest Research Group said the increase is not justified and urged the division to reject the request.

The division will make a decision by the end of the month. An increase would take effect in August.

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Information from: The Oregonian, http://www.oregonlive.com