Colorado’s health insurance rates go up next year

Coloradans who buy their health insurance on the state stock exchange – and not through an employer – will see rates rise 10.4 percent next year. Rates will increase by 7.4% for small employers with up to 100 employees.

The Colorado Division of Insurance announced the final rates for 2023 on Tuesday. Enrollments open from November 1 to January 15, 2023.

Consumers now have the option for the first time to purchase a plan through the Colorado Option, a quasi-public health insurance program that has been a top priority of Governor Jared Polis’ administration.

The program “allows participants to better understand what they are paying for and prioritizes mental and physical wellbeing to better support total wellbeing,” said Lieutenant Governor Dianne Primavera, who also heads the Office of Saving People Money on. Healthcare.

The administration has touted what it calls “innovative programs,” co-created with state lawmakers, which can save $ 326 million statewide on individual health insurance plans next year. This includes the state reinsurance program, which helps insurers, the Colorado option, and the insurance division’s rate review process. He said the programs are “making significant savings”.

A consumer health group said rural consumers will generally face higher increases. He noted that the hikes come in the wake of news that Bright Health is exiting the market, which means around 55,000 Colorado residents will have to change their insurance plan.

“After several years of fairly stable health insurance prices, Colorado consumers will feel these increases, especially in rural areas,” said Mannat Singh, executive director of the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative. “Insurers and hospitals are not making enough effort to meet the required reductions for some Colorado Option plans, but are instead setting a baseline for not meeting targets without reasonable justification.”

More than 300 floors in the state

According to the state insurance division, there will be 337 individual plans available statewide. This will include the plans offered through the Colorado option, in the bronze, silver and gold tiers. The plans are roughly evenly split between those available through Connect for Health Colorado, the state health insurance exchange, and those sold directly through insurance companies. Subsidies for making insurance cheaper are only available at the time of signing up through the exchange.

Six companies will offer individual plans for 2023: Anthem (such as HMO Colorado), Cigna, Denver Health, Friday Health, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Colorado, and Rocky Mountain HMO.

All counties, except one in rural Colorado (Jackson, which borders Wyoming), have multiple companies offering plans on the stock exchange, the division said.

Eleven companies will sell nearly 500 small group health plans, including 48 Colorado Option plans. That category is for employers with up to 100 employees.

Reject the Colorado Option plans

A group representing insurers says the new landscape means fewer carriers offering plans, less competition and higher premiums.

The Colorado Association of Health Plans said in a statement that nearly all low-cost products in the individual market are not Colorado Option plans, but “non-standardized products built by health insurance providers who continue to offer choice and convenience to consumers of the Colorado in an unprecedented period of inflation ”.

The decisions made by the Polis administration regarding the program “were fundamentally contradictory to the stated goal of saving people money on health care,” said Amanda Massey, executive director of the group. “We fully support market-based policies that actually reduce costs, but the outcome of the first Colorado policy shows that the administration has chosen politics over math.”

Another group opposed to the Polis administration’s plan called the new program “in trouble”.

“It is clear that they are trying to make a positive difference to the failure of this new government-controlled health insurance system,” Colorado’s Health Care Future said in a statement.

Assistance and subsidies

The state said consumers can save money by shopping around and noted that financial assistance through federal inflation-reducing action means that more than four in five people who shop for coverage through the state stock exchange will be eligible. to subsidies in 2023.

“I encourage everyone to visit Connect for Health Colorado to determine what financial help they could receive and purchase the plans that fit their needs,” said Michael Conway, Colorado Insurance Commissioner.

This week, Humana informed local regulators and insurance brokers that they would be leaving the Colorado employers group medical business. In a statement, the company said it includes about 15,000 people employed across the Colorado employers group market.

Colorado politics first signaled the change.

Humana did not give a reason. She said the move has no impact on health, dental, eye or life insurance plans. All affected plans will end by mid-2024.

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