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Individual market health insurance plans should drop by 20% for 2020

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October 14, 2019, 8:43 am

Coloradans who don’t get their health insurance through their employers and must rely on plans sold on the individual market should see statewide savings of more than 20% in 2020, according to the Colorado Division of Insurance. Those savings could be even higher in mountain resort areas.

State Rep. Dylan Roberts, D-Eagle
Dylan Roberts, D-Avon

The state health insurance exchange, Connect for Health Colorado, is urging customers to shop for new health insurance plans to lower their premiums for 2020. Connect for Health is touting new competition in many counties as well as the introduction of a reinsurance program spearheaded by mountain lawmakers that helps insurers with their most costly claims.

However, Eagle County will actually see less competition in 2020, with Kaiser Permanente pulling out after a few short years and leaving just one insurance provider (Anthem) offering plans that comply with the Affordable Care Act and therefore offer tax credits for eligible customers.

Summit County will see some of the most dramatic savings as a result of reinsurance and the Peak Health Alliance, a health care cooperative that could be used as a model for Eagle County and other parts of the state in 2021. Summit County consumers could see savings of up to 34%.

Rep. Julie McCluskie, D-Dillon, prime sponsor of the reinsurance bill (HB19-1168), predicts families living in the mountains will save more than $10,000 a year.

“The typical family of four living in the mountains and some rural areas of our state will see a savings of over $10,000 next year,” McCluskie said. “Every Coloradan deserves access to high-quality, affordable health care services close to home, and the General Assembly worked tirelessly this past year to deliver on this basic human right.”

McCluskie and Rep. Dylan Roberts, D-Avon, were also the co-prime sponsors of SB19-004, a bill that established of the Peak Health Alliance. After starting successfully in Summit County, Peak Health is now expanding into several other counties, including Grand, Archuleta, Dolores, La Plata, Montezuma, and San Juan counties.

Various stakeholders are working on a similar cooperative for Eagle County in 2021, when there could also be a public option administered by Connect for Health Colorado.
 
Colorado Division of Insurance and the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing recently released a draft report on a new insurance option that was required by HB19-1004.

“We passed HB19-1004 this past session so we could get a proposal that addresses two of the most persistent health care challenges facing Colorado, especially in the rural parts of our state: the lack of insurance options for consumers and high premiums,” Roberts said. “I am excited to see the release of this draft proposal and am encouraged by its promise to reduce health insurance premium rates and provide more choices for Coloradans. I look forward to hearing feedback from the public and stakeholders on this draft plan as we continue working to increase access to affordable health care.”

Open enrollment for individual market plans runs from Nov. 1, 2019, to Jan. 15, 2020. Consumers must enroll by Dec. 15 to have coverage in place by Jan. 1, 2020.

Here’s a recent email blast from Connect for Health Colorado Chief Executive Officer Kevin Patterson:

Kevin Patterson
Kevin Patterson

With the season’s first snow also came a big week for us. Yesterday, Governor Polis and the Colorado Division of Insurance released the offerings for 2020 health insurance plans.

I’m pleased there is a lot of good news to share with this year’s rates, as the average individual health insurance premium next year will be 20.2 percent lower, likely due to the reinsurance program. That number reflects the savings our customers would see before the financial help available is applied, of which 77 percent of current customers qualify.

As we dig into the details to learn what Coloradans will pay this year for insurance on the Marketplace, we’re also seeing the need for customers to shop for a new plan in order to lower their premiums in 2020. Shopping may even help customers enroll in a plan with more rich coverage. For some, costs for Gold plan premiums will be comparable to Silver plan premiums after the financial help is applied. Others may find a Bronze plan with very low or even $0 premium.

And another piece of this year’s puzzle is that while premiums are going down, the average financial help amount for enrollees who qualify will decrease as well. That’s why ensuring that our customers review plans for their needs will be important. Read more in our press release.

Plans will be available for our customers to start reviewing in our Quick Cost and Plan Finder tool shortly, and Open Enrollment begins Nov. 1.

No matter how people prefer to shop, we know our partnering assisters and brokers will be ready to help customers get the information they need to feel confident about their health insurance choice this Open Enrollment period. Thank you in advance for your help getting Coloradans ready to enroll. 

Our State’s Version of a Public Option

The Colorado Sun does a nice job diving into the details of the Proposal for Affordable Health Coverage Option (HB 19-1004) Draft Report. I also issued a statement, since the State is proposing to offer these new options through Connect for Health Colorado. 

In the News You can read coverage about this year’s plan rate offerings in Colorado Public Radio’s piece or Denver Channel7

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