(Promoted by Colorado Pols)
POLS UPDATE #2: Insurance premium rates have always gone up year-by-year, but rate increases have actually slowed under Obamacare. Check out this story from TIME magazine last October:
These increased costs for employers and employees alike may seem steep—up around 50% over the past eight years—but they could have risen far higher had the Affordable Care Act never passed. [Pols emphasis] The Kaiser study shows that average family premiums rose 20% from 2011 to 2016. That rate of increase is actually much lower than the previous five years (up 31% from 2006 to 2011) and the five years before that (up 63% from 2001 to 2006).
POLS UPDATE: Denver7’s Blair Miller reports, don’t believe the hype:
Colorado Insurance Commissioner Marguerite Salazar says that the high hikes are a product of uncertainty for insurers in the marketplaces.
“It remains pivotal that the Trump administration stops using people’s access to health care as a bargaining chip and commits to funding the Cost-Sharing Reductions in 2018,” Salazar said. [Pols emphasis]
“These premium increases are not a surprise,” she continued. “I believe that the dubious situation at the federal level has contributed to the premium increase requests we’ve seen from the companies.”
Today the Colorado Division of Insurance released the preliminary health insurance rate filings, and the proposed rates show Colorado’s insurance market is being disrupted by politics in Washington. While Colorado scores ahead of all other states in our health care risk score, the chaos and uncertainty caused by Republicans in Washington means Coloradans will face volatility and spikes in the individual insurance market with proposed premium increases ranging from 12.1% to 41.2%. Small employers will see a little more stability experiencing some single and some double digit increases.
This wide range shows that insurers are grappling with the uncertainty created by the effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act in Congress and administrative actions undermining the market. Yet again, rate increases will hit rural counties even harder, where Anthem is the only insurer offering plans in 14 counties and is requesting a rate increase of over 30%.
Proposed insurance rates are often higher than the finalized rates, so hopefully we will see the Division of Insurance closely examine the basis for these proposed increases and reduce those rates that are not justified. Nevertheless, with the ongoing chaos created by Congress and the Administration, Colorado consumers are facing painful increases in their 2018 coverage and premium prices.
The insurance market was stabilizing prior to the turmoil created by Republican leaders in Washington. Insurance companies like predictability and they haven’t gotten that.
Kaiser, with the bulk of the individual market enrollments through Connect for Health Colorado, has requested a 24.4% increase, Bright Health a 15% increase, Colorado Choice 28.9%, Rocky Mountain HMO has requested 12.1%, and Denver Health is asking for a 12.7% increase for their Elevate health insurance plans.
However, some insurers have asked for even larger increases. In addition to Anthem’s 30% requested increase, Cigna is requesting a whopping increase of 41.2%. These increases only compound the problem for Western Slope consumers who have been struggling with sky-high premiums and significant yearly increases.
The signs that the market was stabilizing should encourage Congress to improve the Affordable Care Act, not repeal it. If the Senate bill passes, Coloradans will see tax credits decrease, seniors charged more, and more rate increases. Insurers should be working with providers to improve quality and keep coverage affordable by addressing the underlying health care costs instead of responding to the chaos created by Congress and this Administration.