Coloradans who get their health insurance on the state exchange — rather than through an employer — will see rates rise 10.4 percent over the next year. For small employers with up to 100 employees, the rates increase by 7.4 percent.
The Colorado Division of Insurance announced final rates for 2023 on Tuesday. Open registration runs from November 1st to January 15th, 2023.
Consumers now have, for the first time, the ability to purchase a plan through the Colorado Option, a quasi-public health insurance program that is a top priority for Gov. Jared Polis’ administration.
The program “allows participants to better understand what they are paying for and prioritizes mental and physical well-being to better support overall well-being,” said Lt. gov. Dianne Primavera, who also heads the Office of Saving People Money on Healthcare.
The government has been promoting what it calls “innovative programs,” created in conjunction with state legislatures, that could save $326 million on individual health plans statewide over the next year. These include the state reinsurance program that helps insurers, the Colorado Option, and the Insurance Department’s rate review process. It said the programs would “create significant savings.”
A consumer health group said rural consumers will generally face higher increases. It noted that the increases followed news that Bright Health is exiting the market, meaning about 55,000 Colorado residents will have to change their insurance plans.
“After several years of fairly stable health insurance prices, Colorado consumers will feel these price increases, particularly in rural areas,” said Mannat Singh, executive director of the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative. “Insurers and hospitals are not making enough effort to meet required cuts for some Colorado option plans, instead setting a baseline for not meeting targets without reasonable justification.”
More than 300 plans in the state
According to the state insurance department, 337 individual plans will be available nationwide. This includes plans offered through the Colorado option in Bronze, Silver, and Gold metal tiers. Plans are split roughly evenly between those available through Connect for Health Colorado, the state health insurance exchange, and those sold directly through insurance companies. Grants to make insurance more affordable are only available if you sign up through the exchange.
Six companies will offer individual plans for 2023: Anthem (as HMO Colorado), Cigna, Denver Health, Friday Health, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Colorado and Rocky Mountain HMO.
All counties, except one in rural Colorado (Jackson, which borders Wyoming), have multiple companies offering plans on the stock exchange, the department said.
Eleven companies will sell nearly 500 small group health insurance plans, including 48 Colorado option plans. This category applies to employers with up to 100 employees.
Push back the Colorado option plans
A group representing insurers says the new landscape means fewer airlines offering plans, less competition and higher premiums.
The Colorado Association of Health Plans said in a statement that nearly all of the lowest-cost products on the individual market are not Colorado option plans, but are “non-standard products developed by health insurance providers that continue to offer choice and affordability to Colorado consumers at a time.” unprecedented inflation.”
Decisions by the Polis administration regarding the program “were fundamentally at odds with the stated goal of saving people money on healthcare,” said Amanda Massey, the group’s chief executive. “We fully support market-based strategies that actually reduce costs, but the result of Colorado’s first-in-the-nation policy shows that the government chose politics over math.”
Another group opposed to the Polis government’s plan called the new program “arduous”.
“It is clear that 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 find savings by shopping around, noting that financial support from federal anti-inflation action means more than four in five people seeking coverage through the state exchange will be out in 2023 will be entitled to subsidies.
“I encourage everyone to visit Connect for Health Colorado to find out what financial assistance they can get and to search for the plans that meet their needs,” said Michael Conway, Colorado Insurance Commissioner.
This week, Humana informed local regulators and insurance brokers that they were exiting the employers’ group medical business in Colorado. In a statement, the company said about 15,000 people are employed in the Colorado employer market.
Colorado Politics first reported the change.
Humana didn’t give a reason. The move will not affect Medicare, dental, vision or life insurance plans. All affected plans end in mid-2024.