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June 21, 2012 at 8:10 AM

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Regence should look to reserves before raising premiums

Regence BlueShield wants to raise average premiums by almost 15 percent for families who self-insure, according to the AP.

The nonprofit health insurance company says it expects a loss of $4.5 million this year. The company also has a surplus of more than $1 billion. If Regence absorbed this loss by reaching into its surplus, the company would still have $995.5 million to cushion itself against unknown risks.

In the past six years, rates for individuals have already doubled.

Regence is asking for approval from the state Office of the Insurance Cmmissioner.

Insurance commissioner Mike Kreidler wants to change state law so his office can factor in surplus profits when deciding whether to approve insurance rate increase. Our editorial board supports this change in state law, as we said in this editorial earlier this year.

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