- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 14, 2016

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - Idaho health insurers say they want to raise premiums an average of 27 percent next year because they are losing money.

It would mean the second year in a row of double-digit increases for some plans. The Idaho Statesman (https://bit.ly/1YpSmOa ) reported.

Six companies sell health insurance plans for individuals in Idaho, five of them on the state’s exchange. They proposed similar rate increases last year.

The companies say patients have needed more medical treatment and medical costs have been increasing, including the price of prescription drugs. On top of that, two federal programs created by the Affordable Care Act to help insurers weather unexpectedly high costs are set to expire this year.

The Idaho Department of Insurance is seeking public comment on the proposed rates. Under state law, it can review rates before they take effect and rule an increase unreasonable. The department can’t set or disapprove the rates, however.

“We acknowledge that rates are reflective of provider costs and plan networks,” insurance department Director Dean Cameron said in a news release. “We recognize that all carriers have lost significant amounts in the individual market. However, rate increases to make up for past years’ losses are not allowed.”

Cameron said his agency will aggressively challenge the proposed increases and continue to fight abusive practices that contribute to the losses.

The rate increases only apply to the individual market, not large-group or small-group plans.

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Information from: Idaho Statesman, https://www.idahostatesman.com

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