John Ingold, Denver Post
Residents who buy their health insurance themselves will pay 20 percent more on average next year, and, for the first time, residents in 14 counties will have the choice of only one carrier offering plans in their area via the state health insurance exchange.
The increases are the largest in Colorado since the 2014 launch of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. In some parts of rural Colorado, premium increases will top 40 percent, according to figures approved Tuesday by the Colorado Division of Insurance. However, tax credits for low-income residents will help blunt the impact of some of those increases, with consumers who currently receive the credits in line to see an average decrease of 11 percent in their premiums.
The Division of Insurance is charged with reviewing requests for premium increases filed by insurance companies. The division cannot dictate to the companies what the prices should be but can reject the proposed rates if they are too high or too low.
A health care advocacy group, the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative, criticized the process.
“Because of the lack of transparency in some insurer’s filings,” Adam Fox, the initiative’s director of strategic engagement, said in a statement, “it’s hard to say how or if these significant rate increases have been justified.”
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