CCHI: “Moderate rate increases show strength of ACA despite GOP sabotage”
DENVER – The Colorado Division of Insurance made public today health insurance companies’ proposed 2019 rates for Colorado’s individual and small group markets. Insurers are requesting an average 5.94% increase in the individual market and 7.15% in the small group market. The Colorado Consumer Health Initiative (CCHI) – the state’s watchdog for health care consumers – reports that as expected, the state’s insurance rates are stabilizing, but consumers would be seeing even better rates next year if it were not for GOP-created sabotage.
The following is a statement from Adam Fox, director of strategic engagement for the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative:
“For a change, most Coloradans aren’t facing massive hikes in their health insurance premiums for next year. This really shows the strength of the Affordable Care Act, that despite ongoing GOP sabotage, Colorado’s insurance premiums are more stable this year. However, Coloradans are still struggling to afford their insurance after big rate hikes last year. Coloradans will still see a range of proposed premium changes ranging from -2.64 percent to 21.6 percent in the individual insurance market depending on their insurer and plan.
“The insurance market may be stabilizing, but the turmoil created by Republican leaders in Washington could bring back big rate increases in the future as those bad policies go into effect and disrupt the market. On top of the GOP’s relentless attacks on the ACA, the Trump administration just announced it will halt billions of dollars of payments to insurers under the current risk-adjustment program and cut funds that help consumer enroll in coverage. The sting of that decision in our insurance prices may not be felt until next year, since insurers had already filed their rates this year.
“Also for a change, consumers in the Western and Mountain regions of the state won’t be hit by double-digit increases this year. In fact, they’ll see Anthem asking for a small decrease in their rates. Even so, considering last year Anthem requested a rate increase of over 30 percent, affordability is still a big concern for Coloradans in these areas. We could have seen more and larger rate decreases this year if it weren’t for the ongoing GOP sabotage creating uncertainty.
“These more moderate rate changes demonstrate that many insurers are now making profits in the individual market and the ACA is strong in Colorado. We expect the Division of Insurance to closely examine the basis for these proposed increases and verify that no insurer is taking advantage of consumers.
“Insurers need to work with providers to address underlying health care costs and make coverage more affordable rather than responding to a chaotic Congress and Administration actively creating volatility. Coloradans dodged a bullet this time, but may not be so lucky next year.”
Kaiser, with the bulk of the individual market enrollments through Connect for Health Colorado, has requested a 7.49 percent increase, Bright Health a 9.7 percent increase, Friday Health Plans 7.5 percent. Rocky Mountain HMO has requested 5.69 percent, and Cigna is asking for a 8.76 percent increase for their plans.
CCHI will study the publicly available data to scrutinize insurers’ justifications for their rates and submit comments to the DOI to protect consumers from unnecessary increases.
Colorado Consumer Health Initiative represents 45+ Colorado health organizations with more than 500,000 health care consumer members, advocating for high-quality, affordable, and equitable health care for all Coloradans.