Coloradans should be able to afford the health care services they need without unpredictable and unsubstantiated insurance rate hikes.  Unfortunately, health insurance companies often stymie access to care by raising rates without trying to find cost savings. The Colorado Consumer Health Initiative is making efforts to monitor insurance rate hikes in Colorado.

Thanks to a CCHI-backed law, insurance companies in Colorado are required to file rate increases with the Division of Insurance (DOI) for approval before implementing them. If the rate is excessive and not justified, DOI can deny the increase. Insurance companies need to demonstrate that they are doing everything they can to keep rates down and DOI has a responsibility to scrutinize these rate hikes to make sure every cent is justified — and reject them if they are not.

This spring, Humana requested a rate increase of 19.1% with a proposed implementation date of August 1, 2012. The total annual premium increase requested is about $2.884 million, with an average annual premium increase per policyholder of about $522.50.  This proposed increase could result in a serious financial hardship for policyholders.

CCHI filed comments with DOI about this rate increase. These comments included concerns about the discrepancy between Humana’s previous claims and costs with their future projections, their projected trends for medical costs and usage, as well as Humana’s significant profits in light of the proposed rate increase. It appears that Humana did not provide the calculations to explain some of their projections. Despite a positive response from DOI about receiving comments from CCHI, Humana’s rate increase was not deemed unreasonable. The rate will go into effect on August 1, 2012.

This review process is too important to leave solely to DOI. As consumers we can make our voices heard and participate in the rate review process. As CCHI is moving forward with watch-dogging the rate review process, we want our members to learn how they, too, can participate in the process.  Click here to learn about our training and sign-up to participate!

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