PUBLISHED: 5:33 PM on Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Business health premiums increase 29%
Premera Blue Cross premiums for its small group pool will increase by 28.8 percent on July 1, reported the Alaska Journal of Commerce last week.

The increase will affect 1,800 small businesses and about 30,000 Alaskan employees - roughly half of Alaska's small business employees. Small businesses are considered those with two to 199 employees.

The Alaska Journal reported the increase had been approved by the state Division of Insurance.

"The approval of this kind of rate increase is not something that we do lightly," state insurance Director Linda Hall told the Alaska Journal. "We are aware of the impact this will have on individuals and small businesses, and we have given this a great deal of deliberation. Our division does a thorough actuarial review of Premera's rate increase request, looking at the historical cost of claims, trends of future claims, utilization patterns and other elements that affect rates."