Health insurance companies request double-digit rate hikes

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SEATTLE (AP) — Health insurance companies that sell individual policies in Washington state want to increase their rates by an average of 13.5 percent in 2017.

Those rate requests announced Monday are under review by the state insurance commissioner’s office.

Commissioner Mike Kreidler says the larger than usual rate hike requests show the individual insurance market is still being developed. He says insurance companies are losing money selling to individuals and rate increases could have been requested last year.

He notes, however, that people who can’t afford the higher rates will also benefit from an increase in government subsidies.

Meanwhile, two of the companies that have sold health insurance to individuals and families statewide have informed state officials they are dropping out of the market.