Colorado health insurers have asked state regulators to approve rate increases for health insurance plans averaging about six percent in the individual market and seven percent for small groups, according to data released today by the Colorado Division of Insurance.
That’s less of a price increase than last year’s uptick but still bad news for consumers, say progressive watchdogs, who blame Republicans for driving up health insurance rates by attacking the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also called Obamacare, and by blocking state laws that could have stabilized prices.
“For a change, most Coloradans aren’t facing massive hikes in their health insurance premiums for next year,” said Adam Fox, director of strategic engagement for the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative (CCHI) in a news release. “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.”
In recent years, rural regions of Colorado saw the biggest increase in health insurance premiums. But the rate of such increases appears to have slowed.
“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,” said Fox. “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.”
Next year, seven companies in Colorado will be offering insurance plans through Connect for Health for individuals. They are: Anthem (as HMO Colorado), Bright Health, Cigna Health and Life, Denver Health Medical Plans, Friday Health Plans, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Colorado and Rocky Mountain HMO.
These are the same same companies that sold insurance to on the individual market last year in Colorado, and as in the past, all counties in Colorado will have at least one on-exchange company selling individual health plans.
In total, sixteen companies will offer insurance in Colorado, including those firms that offer group plans.
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.
“I’m very pleased to see that we kept the same seven companies selling on-exchange plans,” said Interim Colorado Division of Insurance Commissioner Michael Conway in a news release. “Last year we worked hard to keep them in Colorado and I think that work is reflected in their decisions for 2019.”