Five major health-insurance players dominate in Colorado |

Five major health-insurance players dominate in Colorado

Jennifer Brown
The Denver Post

ive major companies dominate the health-insurance market in Colorado, edging out some smaller competitors that failed to stake out a turf.

Guardian stopped offering small-business health insurance in the state this year. Destiny Health recently dropped out of health insurance altogether. And Principal, which operated in Colorado for 30 years, left the state this year because it was unable to offer “competitive benefits,” said company spokeswoman Sonja Rice Sorrel.

The biggest five companies in the state – Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, United Healthcare, Aetna Health, Cigna and Kaiser Permanente – insure a combined 3 million Coloradans. The largest two, Anthem and United Healthcare, hold more than half of the private insurance market in the state.

Smaller companies typically leave “because they can’t compete with the premiums of the big two,” said Rita Lenz, an insurance broker with Northwestern Mutual Denver’s Strategic Employee Benefit Services.

The largest companies in the state typically offer lower premiums than smaller companies new to the market, a sticking point in the debate about competition. Big insurers argue that it’s not their fault if smaller companies can’t compete with their premiums.

Participate in The Longevity Project

The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.

Yet reform advocates point out that as competition has shrunk in the past decade, premiums have jumped an average of 130 percent.

For more of this Denver Post story:

Support Local Journalism