Many Health Insurers Go Big With Initial 2016 Rate Requests

(AP) -

Dozens of health insurers want price hikes well beyond 10 percent for their individual coverage next year, as some juggle higher-than-expected costs and rising prescription-drug expenses.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is seeking a roughly 26 percent premium increase, while plans in Illinois and Florida, among other states, are asking for hikes of 20 percent or more, according to preliminary rate information released Monday on the federal government’s website.

Those requests don’t guarantee that customers will be stuck with bigger bills; regulators in many states have the power to reject rates.

Experts also say the increases detailed Monday don’t reflect overall rates in the broader market. Insurers seeking premium hikes of 10 percent or more are required to justify them under the health-care overhaul.