Division of Insurance approves 2016 health insurance plans
The Colorado Division of Insurance has approved 1,073 health insurance plans from 20 carriers to offer health coverage to consumers and small businesses for 2016. Three carriers from the current year will not be offering plans in 2016, and three new carriers have entered the market for 2016.
Two of the three carriers not offering plans in 2016 have done so voluntarily: New Health Ventures and Time Insurance Company.
The third, Colorado HealthOP, was told by the DOI that they could not sell insurance in 2016 because of a question of their financial viability. The company receives federal funding under a program known as the “risk corridor” and the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services announced that they would only reimburse risk corridor insurers 12.6 percent of what they were entitled. The Colorado HealthOP was expecting to receive $16.2 million in risk corridor payments but will instead receive $2 million. As a result, the HealthOP does not meet the state’s minimum capital and surplus requirements and will not be available in 2016.
Three new carriers have entered the market for 2016: Golden Rule Insurance Company, Aetna Health Inc. and Aetna Life Insurance Company. In addition, UnitedHealthcare of Colorado is entering the individual market for the first time, adding to its existing business in the small group market.
“Even as three carriers leave the Colorado market, three others jump in, so Coloradans continue to have many choices for health insurance, both on and off the exchange,” said Commissioner of Insurance Marguerite Salazar in a press release. “Because we have so many choices, I encourage consumers to look beyond monthly premiums to consider deductibles and other benefits. A plan has to fit both the health and financial needs of a consumer.”
2016 premiums will increase
Across the state, premiums will increase over 2015 premiums on average 7.04 percent, with individual policies rising an average of 9.84 percent, and 3.17 percent for small group plans (plans that are purchased by small employers, with 2-99 employees). Premiums vary by carrier, age, geographic area and the tier of plan. Premiums also reflect the cost of health care in Colorado and in each of the state’s nine geographic rating areas.
“Rates reflect the cost of health care, and the DOI has verified that information,” Salazar said in the release. “This is only the third open enrollment under the ACA, and these rates represent the first time carriers had a full year of data to inform their rates. They are still trying to figure out what consumers want in terms of plans, deductible levels, and services, at a price that attracts enrollment, but allows the carrier to keep the lights on and pay their bills.”
Consumers who have questions about their current plans should contact their insurance carrier, Connect for Health Colorado, their insurance broker or their employer. More information about the approved 2016 plans is available online at www.dora.colorado.gov/insurance; click on the blue “Health Insurance” button.