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SEATTLE (AP) — A Washington state Blue Shield health plan is asking for permission to raise its rates almost 15 percent in October.

Regence BlueShield said Wednesday it has asked the Washington Office of the Insurance Commissioner for permission to raise its base rates for individuals and families by an average of 14.7 percent starting Oct. 31. It said the increase would last until the end of 2013, and that it is needed to pay for expected medical claims over that time. Even with the higher rates, Regence said it would lose $4.5 million over that period.

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