- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 9, 2016

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama says it is seeking an average rate increase of nearly 40 percent on individual health care plans offered in the federal marketplace.

A company statement says the proposed rate increases are needed because of rising health care costs and requirements under the Affordable Care Act.

The price increase across nine different individual health care plans averages out to 39 percent. The proposed increases range from 23 percent to 42 percent and would take effect Jan. 1.

The hikes would affect more than 160,000 people who buy insurance through the federal exchange.

The state insurance department will review the proposal from Blue Cross, the only company selling individual policies through the exchange next year.

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