March 5, 2024

Colorado health insurance premiums may increase for individual market plans

People on Colorado’s individual health insurance market could see an average premium increase of 10% next year, though less for people on Colorado Choice plans, if requested rate changes are allowed.

State Insurance Division and the office of Gov. Jared Polis Announced the asking rate changes on Thursdays. The department will consider and make a decision on the requests, and may refuse during the regulator’s review process. Open enrollment begins in November.

About 200,000 Coloradans are covered on the individual market, and about 28,000 of those market enrollees are on Colorado Choice plans (although another 12,000 people are on those plans through other means). Most Americans are covered through employer-offered plans, Medicaid and Medicare.

Health insurance companies are seeking to increase premiums by an average of 11.1% for non-Colorado Choice plans and 7.7% for Colorado Choice plans. The exact increase varies from plan to plan. Officials did not have dollar figures available Thursday but expect more detailed information on premium rates to come in October.

Colorado Choice is a series of insurance plans designed by the state, although they are provided by private companies. It is not a true public option, because the state does not provide the coverage. It mandates the provision of some low-cost and no-cost primary care and mental health services, including copays. Kyla Hoskins, deputy commissioner for affordability programs, said it’s designed to “incentivize what we believe are high-value services,” including diabetes care and prenatal and postnatal care.

The Colorado Option also allows the state to negotiate on behalf of its clients with providers and hospitals, Hoskins said. She expects the result of those negotiations, through additional savings, next October.

Vincent Plymell, a spokesman for the Insurance Division, encouraged people to look at the breadth of coverage plans offer, not just monthly premiums, to find one that best suits their needs.

“Sometimes you might go with the low-cost plan but end up spending more on out-of-pocket costs,” he said.

Adam Fox, deputy director of the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative, said he was hopeful the proposed rate hike would ease by the time consumers start shopping around this fall.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *