CCHI reports Coloradans will still have options for coverage in 2016

MEDIA RELEASE
Oct. 23, 2015
Contact: Adam Fox, [email protected], 303-829-1261/303-563-9108

Colorado Consumers Will See Mixed Bag in New Insurance Rates
CCHI reports Coloradans will still have options for coverage in 2016

DENVER – The Colorado Consumer Health Initiative (CCHI) – the state’s watchdog for health care consumers – reports that the final health plan rates reflect that the Division of Insurance (DOI) is doing its job to protect consumers and ensure a competitive, stable market. Coloradans will continue to have options for coverage through Colorado’s marketplace Connect for Health Colorado.

“It was a lot like Goldilocks – DOI lowered some rates when they found they weren’t justified, raised others to ensure the premiums would fully cover medical claims and left others alone because they were just right,” said Adam Fox, CCHI director of strategic engagement. “This proves Colorado’s rate review really works for consumers and the market alike.”

While some health insurance rates are increasing, DOI lowered requested rate increases for several health insurance carriers that CCHI had submitted comments on, such as Rocky Mountain Health Plan (from 34.4% to 30.8%) and Humana Health Plan (20.9% to 20.1%). These two cuts will save Coloradans an estimated $3.7 million overall. On the other hand, the DOI raised rates submitted by Kaiser (from 2% to 4%) to ensure premiums would adequately cover the claims of their members.

After two years of offering health plans through Connect for Health Colorado, and one full year of claims experience, insurers are beginning to learn how to fairly set rates under the Affordable Care Act. Even though the market variability has settled down because more Coloradans with insurance means less uncompensated care for hospitals and providers, there is still market volatility ahead, as evidenced with Colorado HealthOP’s closure. The inclusion of businesses up to 99 employees in the small group market may impact rates and competition. Western Slope and mountain resort area plans continue to be more expensive than in other areas of the state.

“The good news is that an overwhelming majority of Coloradans are getting the health insurance they need, which was confirmed by the recent survey that showed that 6.7% of our residents are uninsured now, as compared to 14.3% before Obamacare and Connect for Health Colorado opened its doors,” said CCHI’s Adam Fox. “Connect for Health Colorado offers robust coverage choices and financial assistance is available for lower and mid-income families to help them afford coverage.”

Rate changes will lead to a change in the benchmark plan in Colorado that is used to set the level of financial assistance available based on a person’s income.  CCHI encourages consumers to shop around and carefully consider their plan options before making a selection. Coloradans can get free in-person help with shopping and enrollment through Health Coverage Guides and brokers associated with Connect for Health Colorado.

The Division Insurance announced that insurers will offer 188 individual health plans and 159 small business plans in 2016 through Connect for Health Colorado. Consumers may sign up for 2016 individual health plans beginning on Nov. 1, 2015.

CCHI will release more information and graphics about 2016 health plan rates as more analysis on the final rates can be completed.

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Colorado Consumer Health Initiative represents 50+ Colorado health organizations with more than 500,000 health care consumer members, advocating for affordable, accessible, quality health care for all Coloradans.

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