Calls for more information so public can scrutinize annual rate proposals
July 7, 2016
Contact: Adam Fox, (303) 563-9108
DENVER – Yesterday the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative submitted comments to the Division of Insurance flagging problems for health insurance consumers in proposed 2017 rates increases by Golden Rule (a subsidiary of UnitedHealthcare) and Anthem (also known as HMO Colorado). Overall, CCHI is concerned about the lack of transparency and is calling for more information to be accessible to the public to reasonably assess these filings.
“Coloradans deserve a transparent process for health insurance pricing but the huge variation among different insurers on what is and what is not confidential makes it impossible to analyze and compare proposed rates,” said Adam Fox, Colorado Consumer Health Initiative director of strategic engagement. “It is unacceptable for insurers to ask for large rate increases without providing clear justification for the public to assess so we need to establish clear standards so insurers disclose the same level of information.”
Golden Rule’s proposal to increase rates by an average of 40 percent, seeking to more than double its profit and contingency margin from four percent to 10.4 percent, which is excessive given that other Colorado carriers are proposing margins in the two to three percent range. Furthermore, the use of a private “proprietary” model makes it impossible to assess if any large increase is supported.
The filings submitted by Anthem epitomize the lack of transparency in this process – so much of their filing is redacted, it is simply not possible to analyze their proposals which would increase Colorado’s Anthem premiums an average of 26.8 percent. Also, Anthem’s comparatively high rating factor for the Region 9 could mean unaffordable rates on the Western Slope.
“We are particularly concerned about Anthem given the proposed merger with Cigna,” said CCHI’s Adam Fox. “If Anthem is unwilling to justify their rates publicly, it begs the question of whether this mega-insurer would put consumers first and if consumers would be treated fairly.”
Anthem’s proposed increase would impact close to 30,000 Coloradans and Golden Rule’s would impact 3,295. These rates are not yet final and are still in the review process. The Division of Insurance is expected to release the finalized rates early this fall. Insurers are planning to offer a total of 942 individual and small group plans on and off of Colorado’s marketplace Connect for Health Colorado in 2017.
Colorado Consumer Health Initiative represents 45+ Colorado health organizations with more than 500,000 health care consumer members and advocates for access to affordable, high-quality, and equitable healthcare for all Coloradans.