When Montana Insurance Commissioner Monica Lindeen first learned that Blue Cross Blue Shield wanted to increase health insurance rates for those buying individual plans on the Affordable Care Act’s marketplace by an average of 65 percent she said she was “shocked.” After public hearings and a rate review, BCBS dropped their rate request down to a 58.4 percent increase, which Lindeen says is “unreasonable,” however, she can’t show the public what she found just yet.

“We asked Blue Cross if we could make those findings public and they said no, because under Montana Law they get 30 days to respond to my findings,” Monica Lindeen said. “30 days will be on Monday, and on Monday I can release the details of my findings which will let people know how much I thought that they should have lowered those rates.”

Lindeen says it was “avery unusual year,” and that while Blue Cross Blue Shield was asked to lower their rate others were asked to increase rates.

“The other two providers, Montana Health Co-Op and Pacific Source, we actually found their rates to be too low, the ones they filed originally,” Monica Lindeen said. “So we went to both of the companies and we said we think your original filings will not allow you to be able to cover your insurance claims and we think in both cases they needed to raise their rates.”

Although the public will soon get to see Lindeen’s rate review, she says there is nothing more that her office can do to counteract rate increases until the state legislature gives her office the power to do so. These will be the final rates for 2017.