DENVER – Today, Colorado’s Division of Insurance announced finalized health insurance rates for 2022 with average increases in individual market premiums of 1.1% percent and slightly larger increases of 4.4% in the small group market, down slightly from the preliminary rates. The Colorado Consumer Health Initiative expressed some relief and cautious optimism for most of the state’s population.
The finalized 2022 rates show Colorado’s individual health insurance rates have largely stabilized, meaning consumers will see a mix of single-digit average increases or decreases depending on the insurance company and region. Data from the Division of Insurance shows that Coloradans are saving an average of 24% on their premiums through Colorado’s reinsurance program. In addition, all but one county in Colorado will have multiple insurance companies offering plans in 2022, the exception being Jackson County.
Another positive development for consumers is that Oscar, a newer health insurer in Colorado, has added UCHealth to their Denver Metro provider network. Anthem has also brought UCHealth back into one of their networks for individual market plans (but consumers will have to choose the correct plans to access this network). Many consumers, especially those with chronic conditions or more complex medical needs, were left struggling to access the providers they had long-standing relationships with after UCHealth and Anthem failed to agree on a contract for individual market plans for 2021.
“The combination of stabilized health insurance rates and the increased financial assistance through the American Rescue Plan means many Coloradans will be able to find better deals than they have before on their insurance coverage this year. With the uncertainty of the pandemic, the general stability of individual market health insurance rates is a good thing for Coloradans,” said Adam Fox, deputy director of the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative.
“We are seeing state policy efforts benefit Coloradans year after year as reinsurance keeps premiums down and companies have gradually expanded into those counties that only had one insurance company offering plans. Despite more stability in the individual market, and with only somewhat larger increases in the small employer market, we know health insurance is still unaffordable for too many Coloradans. That’s why we’re working to implement the Colorado Option to bring more affordable and equitable health insurance plans to Colorado families and small businesses starting in 2023.”
Some 50,000 Colorado consumers will also start to see additional benefits in 2022 from Senate Bill 20-215 and the Health Insurance Affordability Enterprise it created. In addition to the enterprise providing long-term funding for reinsurance, lower-income Coloradans (between 150-200% of the Federal Poverty Level) will have access to additional assistance through Connect for Health Colorado that will lower their copays and deductibles further than what’s provided under the ACA.
“It’s important for Coloradans to shop during this open enrollment period as there’s more assistance available to lower their premiums and out-of-pocket costs this year than before,” said Fox.
Colorado’s open enrollment period runs November 1, 2021 through January 15, 2022.
Colorado Consumer Health Initiative is a nonpartisan, nonprofit group that represents 40+ Colorado health organizations with more than 500,000 health care consumers advocating for equitable access to high-quality, affordable health care. In 2018, CCHI received the “Get Wise” Consumer Protection award from the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA).