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Oregon, like many other states in the country, benefitted considerably from the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Its lower uninsured rating backs this up, and so does it well-faring health ranking. However, just like entire nation, the state has also seen an increase in rates this year. In this guide, you’ll learn of the most important changes and updates to the health insurance sector of the state.

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Health ratings of the state

Areas that have healthy people typically enjoy good rates. And because OR performs above average in this criterion, you, together with all its other citizens, have an average rate increase lower than that of the entire country.

With a rank of 15th of 51 in the 2015 Commonwealth Fund’s Scorecard on State Health System Performance, the state performed best in the categories Avoidable Hospital Use & Costs, as well as Equity, getting a quintile score of 1. It also performed above average for the Healthy Lives indicator, wherein it received a score of 2. It didn’t fare well in Access nor in Prevention & Treatment though, only scoring 3 in both.

Some key takeaways from its “Healthy Lives” performance include the following:

  • Mortality amenable to healthcare: 62 out of 100,000 people

  • Breast cancer fatalities: 19.9 out of 100,000 women

  • Colorectal cancer fatalities: 14.4 out of 100,000 people

  • Percentage of adult smokers: 16%

  • Adult obesity: 28%

  • Obesity in children aged 10-17: 26%

As for access to insurance, take a look at these comparisons between the state and the country:

  • 14% of adults (19 to 64 years old) don’t have insurance, compared with the national average of 15%

  • 5% of children (infants to 18 years old) are uninsured, as opposed to the countrywide average of 6%

  • 14% of the adult population chose not to obtain insurance due to the high costs associated with it

  • 2% of adults had expensive out-of-pocket medical bills

An impressive 10.1% drop in uninsured rating

Insurers use a multitude of factors to calculate rates, which then ultimately determines one’s premiums. One of these variables is the portion of the population within an area without insurance. Fortunately, with the Pacific Wonderland continuously striving hard to help its residents obtain insurance, it has seen a considerably reduction in its uninsured rating over the course of several years.

For instance, in 2010, 17.1% of the state’s population had no insurance. By 2015 though, this dropped to 7.0%, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services reports. This means that 10.1% of its then estimated population of 4,028,977 (2015, latest data1) became insured, representing 403,000 individuals.

2017 projections for premium averages

Rate increases for plans offered in the Oregon exchange average at 23.4%, just slightly below the national average of 25%. This is already better than what other states now have to deal with. Better yet, you’ll find plans with an increased rate of as low as 10.9%.

Since your individual premiums will still go up this year, it pays to enter the market having some idea on projected premium averages. To start with, here are some projections from the United States Department of Health & Human Services:

  • Average lowest-cost, monthly premium within metal level: $420

  • Average net premium for lowest cost plan within metal tier: $169

  • Second-lowest silver before advance premium tax credit (for a 27-year old with a $25,000 household income): $287

  • Second-lowest silver after advance premium tax credit (for a 27-year old with a $25,000 household income): $142

  • Second-lowest silver before advance premium tax credit (for a family of four with a $60,000 household income): $1,040

  • Second-lowest silver after advance premium tax credit (for a 27-year old with a $25,000 household income): $405

Doing better in health ratings mean healthier citizens and better premiums

Some of the biggest benefits that the state will definitely see when it successfully improves its health ratings is an overall healthier population. And because this is a critical factor that insurance companies take into consideration, improving upon it will also pave the way for better premiums.

References:

https://www.healthinsurance.org/oregon-state-health-insurance-exchange/

http://datacenter.commonwealthfund.org/scorecard/state/39/oregon/

https://aspe.hhs.gov/compilation-state-data-affordable-care-act

https://aspe.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/212721/2017MarketplaceLandscapeBrief.pdf

1Latest data: The U.S. census is conducted every 10 years as per requirement of the United States Constitution. The 23rd edition and the latest data is the 2010 United States Census. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_United_States_Census
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