Kevin Simpson, The Denver Post

Individual health care plan premiums could increase significantly in 2017 — by as much as 40 percent for one insurer — according to preliminary requests released Monday by the Colorado Division of Insurance.

The requests, which will be reviewed by the insurance division for compliance with state and federal requirements, would not be approved until the fall. They come at a time of particular flux in the state’s individual non-employer market, as four companies have either trimmed or eliminated plans while a new entrant, Bright Health Plans, will offer individual plans both on and off the state exchange Connect For Health Colorado.

While the requested rate increases are concerning, the insurance division review sometimes results in rates being adjusted downward, said Adam Fox, director of strategic engagement for the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative. And consumers who qualify for financial assistance could find that the subsidies absorb any rate increase.

“These rates do highlight the need to grapple with underlying health care costs and get a handle on those,” Fox said. “Health insurers can do things to control costs and we think they should arguably be doing more. But they’re not the only piece of the puzzle.”

Read the full article here.

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