Rhode Island commissioner approves premium rates for health insurance plans

Rhode Island's health insurance commissioner has approved premium rates for 2015 that include single-digit increases for most insurers and a decrease for one.

Commissioner Kathleen Hittner announced the rates Thursday. Some carriers had sought larger increases.

The individual plan rate for Blue Cross & Blue Shield, the state's dominant insurer, will increase 4.5 percent. The rate will drop over 7 percent for Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island. UnitedHealthcare is entering the individual market for the first time.

Base rates for individual and small group plans will range from $289 to $389.

Average increases for large groups range from 5 percent to 11 percent.

The commissioner says there will be more competition and plan choice next year, in part because of the efforts of the state's insurance marketplace, HealthSource RI.