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Final Rates Confirm Coloradans’ Insurance Is Getting Even More Expensive

By October 5, 2018No Comments

Trump Administration and Washington Republicans’ Health Care Sabotage Raises Rates

Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, Colorado announced final rates for 2019 individual-market health insurance plans, which indicate that premiums will increase by an average of 5.6 percent statewide and as much as 21.6 percent in Denver, in contrast to the average nationwide 4.3 percent decrease that Brookings Institution analysts predicted would occur absent GOP sabotage, on top of last year’s double-digit rate hike due to Washington Republicans’ repeal-and-sabotage agenda. Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care, released the following statement in response:

“For the past year and a half, President Trump and his Republican allies in Congress have engaged in a deliberate, aggressive campaign to undermine health care, and families in Colorado are once again forced to pay the price. Until we stop Republicans’ war on health care, insurance companies will continue to make huge profits and enjoy record tax breaks from Republicans while they charge working families more and more. Washington Republicans should start working on bipartisan solutions to make coverage more affordable, instead of helping their friends in the insurance industry make another buck on the backs of hardworking Coloradans.”

From the Insurance Companies:

Colorado Insurance Commissioner Michael Conway: “Decisions At The Federal Level Continue to Make Life Interesting.” “In past years, challenges continue. Just last week, the Trump administration decided to freeze a key ACA program designed to discourage insurers from favoring healthy people over less healthy ones. ‘Decisions at the federal level continue to make life interesting,’ said Commissioner Conway. ‘But as we have in the past, we will find a solution to this most recent announcement. To that end, just this morning, I informed the insurance carriers that we will require that they account for their respective risk adjustment receivables or payables as they are reflected in the July 9, 2018 federal report. I will take any subsequent steps that are necessary to protect Coloradans and to maintain market stability.’” [Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies, 7/13/18]

Office Of Colorado Insurance Commissioner Michael Conway: Individual Market Premiums Increasing An Average Of 5.94 Percent, Increasing As High As 12.3 Percent. “For 2019 individual plans, the average premium increase request is 5.94 percent across all companies and metal levels. In the small group market, the average premium increase request is 7.15 percent. Remember, these are averages across all plans from all companies, across all areas of the state where a company offers plans, for all ages. These averages are not representative of how one individual’s premium could change. Looking closer, the requested average premium increase for individual gold plans is 6.85 percent, and is 12.3 percent for silver plans. For bronze plans, the requested average premium increase is 0.9 percent.” [Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies, 7/13/18]

From the Experts:

Brookings Analysis Estimates That Individual Market Premiums Would Decrease If Not For GOP Sabotage. Among its key findings:

  • Estimates That Average Premium Would Fall By 4.3 Percent In 2019 In Stable Policy Environment. “I estimate that the nationwide average per member per month premium in the individual market would fall by 4.3 percent in 2019 in a stable policy environment.” [Brookings Institution, 8/1/18]
  • Insurance Companies’ Revenues Will Far Exceed Their Costs In 2018. “I project that insurers’ revenues in the ACA-compliant individual market will far exceed their costs in 2018, generating a positive underwriting margin of 10.5 percent of premium revenue. This is up from a modest positive margin of 1.2 percent of premium revenue in 2017 and contrasts sharply with the substantial losses insurers incurred in the ACA-compliant market in 2014, 2015, and 2016. The estimated 2018 margin also far exceeds insurers’ margins in the pre-ACA individual market. ” [Brookings Institution, 8/1/18]
  • Absent Republican Sabotage, Average Premiums For ACA-Compliant Plans Would Likely Fall In 2019. “In this analysis, I define a stable policy environment as one in which the federal policies toward the individual market in effect for 2018 remain in effect for 3 2019. Notably, this scenario assumes that the individual mandate remains in effect for 2019, but also assumes that policies implemented prior to 2018, like the end of CSR payments, remain in effect as well. Under those circumstances, insurers’ costs would rise only moderately in 2019, primarily reflecting normal growth in medical costs.” [Brookings Institution, 8/1/18]