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Oregon group questions Regence rate-hike proposal

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — A consumer group says Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon hasn't justified its proposal to raise rates for 52,000 people who buy health insurance in the individual market rather than through an employer.

The Oregon State Public Interest Research Group released its analysis on Wednesday. The organization has a contract with state insurance regulators to analyze proposed rate hikes.

Regence wants to hike premiums by 9.6 percent, saying its medical and prescription drug costs will increase at an annual rate of 10.1 percent. The consumer group says Regence has not provided enough information to back up its projections for cost growth.

The Oregon Insurance Division has the final say over how much Regence can raise premiums. Last year, regulators approved a 13 percent hike after Regence requested 22 percent.

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