Health premiums to increase for Rhode Islanders

By Alexandra Siegel 

The health insurance
commissioner has approved new higher premiums that will cause many Rhode
Islanders to have to pay more for health coverage next year.

Christopher Koller approved
the 2014 rates last week before stepping down as planned. Insurers had been
seeking even steeper hikes including Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island, the state's leading insurer, which had wanted an increase of 17 percent.

According to Koller, the
increases are driven by administrative costs, contributions to reserves, rising
medical expenses, and costs coupled with the federal health care overhaul, which
will take full effect next year.

Large groups will see
average increases that range from 10 to 12 percent with base rates ranging from
$312 to $371 a month for individual and small group plans. 

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