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Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alaska seeks lower rate hike

Premera Blue CrossBlue Shield of Alaska is requesting an average rate increase of 9.8%for individual health plans that it will offer in Alaska for 2017.

The request is lower than the average rate increases of 37% and39% that the insurer received for 2015 and 2016, respectively. The insurer attributedthe lower rate hike request for 2017 to H.B. 374, a legislation that will createa state health insurance fund using premium taxes collected from insurers. Paymentsfor the claims related to rare and costly medical conditions will be taken fromthe fund. Alaska Gov. Bill Walker signed the legislation into law after it passedthe state Legislature.

Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield will be the only insurer offeringindividual plans in Alaska in 2017 after OregonDental Service's ModaHealth Plan Inc. decided to exitthe market.