Colorado health insurance rates climb next year

Colorado residents who buy their health insurance through the state stock exchange — not through an employer — will see their rates rise by 10.4% next year. Rates will increase by 7.4% for small employers with up to 100 employees.

The Colorado Division of Insurance announced final rates for 2023 on Tuesday. Open enrollment runs from November 1 through January 15, 2023.

Consumers now have the ability for the first time to purchase a plan through the Colorado Option, a quasi-public health insurance program that has been a priority of Governor Jared Polis’ administration.

The program “provides participants with a better understanding of what they are paying for and prioritizes mental and physical well-being intended to better support total well-being,” said Lieutenant Governor Dianne Primavera, who also leads the Office. to save people money on health care.

The administration has touted what it calls “innovative programs,” created with state lawmakers, that can save $326 million statewide on individual health insurance plans for next year. . This includes the state’s reinsurance program, which helps insure insurers, the Colorado Option, and the Division of Insurance’s rate review process. He said the programs “result in substantial savings”.

A consumer health group said rural consumers will generally face higher increases. He noted that the increases followed Bright Health’s exit from the market, which means around 55,000 Coloradans will need to change their insurance plans.

“After several years of fairly stable health insurance prices, consumers in Colorado are going to feel these increases, especially in rural areas,” said Mannat Singh, executive director of the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative. “Insurers and hospitals are not trying hard enough to meet the reductions required for some Colorado Option plans, but rather are setting a baseline for not meeting targets without reasonable justification.”

More than 300 plans in the state

According to the state’s insurance division, there will be 337 individual plans available statewide. This will include plans offered through the Colorado option, in bronze, silver, and gold metal tiers. Plans are roughly evenly split between those available through Connect for Health Colorado, the state’s health insurance exchange, and those sold directly by insurance companies. Subsidies to make insurance more affordable are only available when signing up through the exchange.

Six companies will offer individual plans for 2023: Anthem (as a Colorado HMO), Cigna, Denver Health, Friday Health, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Colorado, and Rocky Mountain HMO.

All but one county in rural Colorado (Jackson, which borders Wyoming) has multiple companies offering exchange plans, the division said.

Eleven companies will sell nearly 500 small group health plans, including 48 Colorado Option plans. This category concerns employers with up to 100 workers.

Pushing back on Colorado option plans

A group representing insurers says the new landscape means fewer carriers offering plans, less competition and higher premiums.

The Colorado Association of Health Plans said in a statement that nearly all of the cheapest products on the individual market are not Colorado option plans, but the “non-standardized products designed by health insurance providers who continue to provide choice and affordability to Colorado consumers in an era of unprecedented inflation.

Decisions made by the Polis administration regarding the program “were fundamentally at odds with the stated goal of saving money on health care,” said Amanda Massey, the group’s executive director. “We fully support market-based policies that actually lower costs, but the outcome of Colorado’s first policy shows the administration chose politics over math.”

Another group opposed to the Polis administration’s plan called the new program “difficult”.

“Clearly they are trying to put a positive spin on the failure of this new government-controlled health insurance system,” Colorado’s Health Care Future said in a statement.

Aid and subsidies

The state said consumers can save money by shopping and noted that financial assistance through the federal inflation-reduction action means that more than four in five people who buy coverage through the The state exchange will be eligible for grants in 2023.

“I encourage everyone to visit Connect for Health Colorado to determine what financial assistance they may receive and to purchase the plans that meet their needs,” said Michael Conway, Colorado Insurance Commissioner.

This week, Humana notified local regulators and insurance brokers that they would be exiting the Employer Group’s medical business in Colorado. In a statement, the company said that included about 15,000 people employed in the Colorado Employer Groups Market.

Colorado Politics first reported the change.

Humana did not give a reason. He said the move would not affect health, dental, vision or life insurance plans. All affected plans will end by mid-2024.

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