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Deadline is Friday for insurance rate comments

Oregon consumers have until midnight Friday, July 18, to provide comments on proposed 2015 health insurance rates.

The rate requests are available for review and comment at www.oregonhealthrates.org/. The proposed rates are for plans for businesses with fewer than 50 employees and individuals who buy their own coverage rather than getting it through an employer, which effects about 10 percent of Oregonians. The Department of Consumer and Business Services, Insurance Division must approve any rates before they can be charged to policyholders. The division's actuaries conduct a thorough review of the rates to ensure they are reasonable and justified.

"The input we receive from the public is valuable and a key part of our review process," said Laura Cali, Oregon Insurance Commissioner. "We encourage consumers to take advantage of these last few days to weigh in on proposed rates."

During the past two weeks, the Insurance Division held public hearings for each company's rate request. The hearings are available to watch online at www.oregonhealthrates.org/?pg=archived_2015.html.

The division will make decisions on rates by early August with consumer-friendly documents that describe the decisions by mid-August. Plans will be available starting Nov. 15 to purchase through the federal marketplace, agents and insurers.

Consumers can sign up for email notifications to be alerted of rate decisions and future filings at public.govdelivery.com/accounts/ORDCBS/subscriber/new?qsp=276.