CCHI warns of impending threat to entire ACA
DENVER – Despite ongoing federal sabotage of America’s health care, Colorado’s individual health insurance rates have stabilized and consumers can finally expect some relief with lower premiums. Today, as Colorado’s healthcare insurance companies proposed average decreases in premiums of 18.2 percent as released by the Division of Insurance, the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative expressed cautious optimism, both celebrating the lower prices and warning of significant threats to the widely supported and successful Affordable Care Act (ACA).
“Coloradans purchasing insurance in the private and small group marketplaces have an opportunity to see their premiums reduced by an average 18.2 percent thanks to our efforts to stop surprise out-of-network bills and to create a reinsurance program for high-cost claims,” said Adam Fox, Colorado Consumer Health Initiative director of strategic engagement.
Fox continued, “This is especially good news for rural Coloradans who have been struggling with exceedingly high premiums and virtually no choice of insurers. These initial rate filings indicate they can look forward to premiums that are an average 27-30 percent lower than last year. This will especially help Coloradans in those 14 counties where only Anthem has offered individual insurance plans through Connect for Health Colorado, as they plan to reduce premiums an average 29.5 percent.”
Consumer advocates are relying on a new program intended to help insurers reduce their rates as well as the support of the state’s Division of Insurance.
“We hope the Federal Department of Health and Human Services will quickly approve Colorado’s reinsurance program, which is basically insurance for insurance companies that ultimately helps reduce insurance premiums for consumers. Without reinsurance, consumers will face average increases of 0.5 percent and continue to face very high premiums,” said Fox. “During the months long rate review process, we expect the Division of Insurance to both verify that no insurer is taking advantage of consumers and that insurers are passing on savings from the reinsurance program to consumers when reviewing their 2020 rates.”
However, a looming decision in the Texas ACA case could easily undo all this good news. If the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals strikes down the entire ACA and all of its consumer protections, it could destabilize everything, stripping coverage from hundreds of thousands of Coloradans. In Colorado alone, the ACA has helped around 600,000 Coloradans gain health coverage and reduced the percentage of the state’s uninsured from 14.3 percent in 2013 to 6.5 percent in 2017.
Colorado Consumer Health Initiative is a nonpartisan, nonprofit group that represents 40+ Colorado health organizations with more than 500,000 health care consumer members advocating for high-quality, affordable and equitable health care. In 2018, CCHI received the “Get Wise” Consumer Protection award from the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA).