Jessica Seaman, The Denver Post

After several years of pushing for double-digit hikes, Colorado insurers are asking for an average premium increase for 2019 that is just under 6 percent for those who buy their own coverage, the state Division of Insurance said Friday.

If approved by state regulators, the proposed average price jump would be the smallest increase for health insurance policies on the individual market, sold both on and off the state’s health insurance exchange, since 2015.

The Division of Insurance will review the plans submitted by the insurance companies and will make a final decision by late fall.

There are roughly 250,000 residents who get their health insurance on the individual market. Of those, more than 180,000 are on the exchange, which, known as Connect for Health Colorado, was created in 2011 after the passage of the federal Affordable Care Act. People who buy coverage through the exchange may apply for subsidies to reduce their costs.

About 250,000 people get health insurance coverage through the small group market, according to the Division of Insurance.

Most Coloradans are covered by plans offered by their employers. The remainder are covered by programs including Medicaid and Medicare.

However, a report released this year showed that the cost of health insurance for employers in Colorado is rising faster than the national average, and that the extra cost is being pushed onto employees.

While the premium increase insurers are seeking for the individual market are smaller than previous years, some groups say consumers are still reeling from the 32 percent hike in premiums from last year.

“We’re still concerned about the affordability of coverage, especially in rural and mountain areas where the rates are so high,” said Adam Fox, director of strategic engagement for the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative.

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