Study says Oregon medical costs will go up under federal health care overhaul

(Oregon Public Broadcasting) — A study by a national group of actuaries finds that medical costs for Oregonians who buy their own health insurance will rise 14 percent under the federal health care overhaul.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Actuaries analyze the financial implications of risk.

The Society of Actuaries found that nationally, health insurance could rise an average of 32 percent. Some states were much higher, but Oregon was among the lowest at 14 percent.

Laura Cali, the chief actuary of the Oregon Insurance Division, says she commissioned a similar study nine months ago that found Oregon prices could rise 38 percent.

"There's a lot of variablity in how rates are going to affect individuals. It depends on age, it depends on family status, it depends on income and your eligibility for various other assistance measures. So, it's hard to say definitively, how it's going to affect each individual person."

Higher costs are expected to stem from sicker people, who weren't previously able to get insurance, joining the individual insurance pool.

Coverage is also being expanded, with 10 categories of benefits and minimum coverage requirements.

The Obama Administration says the study also ignores the law's cost-relief strategies.

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