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Vermont health insurer seeks to raise rates

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) -- Vermont's largest health insurance provider wants to raise its rates by an average of 9.8 percent for people and small businesses covered through the state's health benefit's exchange, Vermont Health Connect.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont says it's asking the Green Mountain Care Board to approve the rate increases for 2015.

Blue Cross covers about 58,000 Vermonters through the health care exchange. Blue Cross has about 200,000 customers in the state. Customers not covered through the exchange are not affected.

Blue Cross President Don George says the company recognizes the increase could be difficult for many members covered through the exchange.

He says the factors driving the rate increase are almost entirely related to federal policy changes and increases in prices paid to medical providers in Vermont.