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Individual Health Insurance Holders Face Large Rate Hikes

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Steep premium increases for Americans with individual health insurance policies will become increasingly common, according to experts.

"You're likely to see rate increases of 20, 25, 30 percent," in the near term, Sandy Praeger, chairwoman of the health insurance and managed care committee for the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, told the Associated Press.

She added that most states don't have the legal power to prevent or limit health insurance rate increases.

Anthem Blue Cross in California recently announced that about 800,000 individual policyholders in that state will see rate increases of up to 39 percent March 1. Anthem Blue Cross in Maine is seeking a 23 percent increase this year for some individual policyholders, after an increase of up to 32 percent last year, the AP reported.

In Kansas, one insurer boosted rates by 10 to 20 percent, while a number of insurers in Oregon were granted individual policy rate hikes of 15 percent or more this year, after increases of about 25 percent last year.

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