Colorado’s health insurance premiums set to rise again | VailDaily.com
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Colorado’s health insurance premiums set to rise again

Health Insurance rate proposals

Company Requested Overall Change

Anthem BCBS (HMO Colorado) 26.8 percent

Bright Health Plans New to market

Cigna 9.5 percent

Colorado Choice 36.33 percent

Denver Health 0.08 percent

Freedom Life Insurance 9.98 percent

Golden Rule 40.6 percent

Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Colorado 13.6 percent

National Foundation Life 9.98 percent

Rocky Mountain HMO 34.6 percent

EAGLE COUNTY — Individual health insurance policies could cost up to 40 percent more next year.

While a couple companies are requesting significant jumps, data released this week by Colorado’s Division of Insurance indicates many insurance companies are requesting single-digit increases, and a few are actually decreasing prices.

The Division of Insurance will review the rate requests through the summer. Nothing will be approved until this fall, said Marguerite Salazar, Colorado’s insurance commissioner.

Gang of Four

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In our part of the state our health insurance options are Cigna, Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Kaiser and Rocky Mountain Health Plan, explained Bethe Wright with Wright Insurance.

Those options will be narrowed.

Rocky Mountain Health Plan said it’s abandoning individual plans in Colorado.

Anthem is dropping its PPO, which gives you access to Blue Cross/Blue Shield across the country. It’s keeping its statewide HMO.

Cigna is asking for a 9.5 percent increase.

Kaiser is asking for a 13.6 percent increase.

Colorado’s mountain resort region already has notoriously high insurance rates, the nation’s highest a few short years ago.

What happens in the central Rockies resort region remains to be seen, at least until the Division of Insurance rules on the rate increase requests, Wright said.

Rocky Mountain Health Plans has been a big player in Colorado’s central mountains and Western Slope. With it gone, many areas will be left with only one on-exchange insurance company — Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s HMO division — for individual plans.

“Market forces at work”

Many insurers have been losing money on the Obamacare marketplaces, in part because they set their premiums too low when the plans started in 2014, said Sabrina Corlette, a professor at Georgetown University’s Center on Health Insurance Reforms.

“There are absolutely some carriers that are going to have to come in with some pretty significant price hikes to make up for the underpricing that they did before,” Corlette said.

Salazar said we’re still in “the stabilization phase,” and “the free market is at work.”

“It is important to recognize that this is a market correction taking place on a national scale, not just in Colorado,” Salazar said.

Last month’s Blue Cross Blue Shield Association report said new enrollees under Obamacare had 22 percent higher medical costs than people who received coverage through their employers.

Advancing Colorado chief Jonathan Lockwood makes clear he is no fan of the Affordable Care Act.

“Coloradans get sucker-punched harder year after year by skyrocketing health care costs that we were promised would come to an end under Obamacare,” Lockwood said. “It is anything but stable with the exodus from the exchanges and plans constantly getting canceled. Obamacare is flunking for another year in a row, shocking no one.”

Half of Coloradans, around 2.8 million, buy health insurance through an employer, according to the Division of Insurance.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.


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