Health Care In The States

Colorado Exchange Releases Health Insurance Rates

By Eric Whitney

August 19th, 2013, 5:45 AM

Colorado released its Obamacare insurance rates on Friday, joining 13 states and the District of Columbia in making rates public.

The state earlier made the call to be a clearinghouse exchange, rather than an active purchaser, and so, it has approved all 242 health plans submitted for sale on its marketplace, Connect for Health Colorado.  Thirteen carriers will offer 150 plans in the individual marketplace, and 92 for small businesses. The plans go on sale Oct. 1 for coverage that starts Jan. 1. Colorado also approved 299 plans for sale outside its exchange and prices for them.

“We’re very pleased with the number of carriers and plans,” Deputy Insurance Commissioner Peg Brown told the Connect for Health board Monday. “It represents a wide variety of choice … and healthy competition in the Colorado insurance marketplace overall,” Brown said.

Members of the exchange board greeted Brown’s announcement with applause but did not comment further.

The rates came out  more than two weeks later than the state’s Division of Insurance had initially promised.

So where do the Colorado rates fall in the ongoing debate about whether prices on the exchanges are reasonable? It might be the rare “just right” state.

Prices range from $135 a month on the low end to almost $1,000 a month for the most comprehensive coverage with some variation depending on a person’s age, where they live and whether they use tobacco.

The average price of an individual policy in Colorado now is about $200 a month, and there are a variety of plans near that average in the rates released Friday.

See all insurance marketplace rates that have been released to date

But Brown cautioned against comparing plans approved for next year to those currently available.

“It’s important to note that these are new plans, and developed for new requirements in 2014. Consequently, any comparison to past or current plans would not be an apples-to-apples comparison,” Brown said.

Prices will also be lower than listed for many people earning less than $46,000 a year, because they will qualify for subsidies to make insurance more affordable. The subsidies will be on a sliding scale, so people with  lower incomes will get larger subsidies.

The Division of Insurance released sample rate information for the new plans earlier this week. It shows that premiums for a 27-year-old non-smoker will range from $135.57 a month for the lowest-cost catastrophic coverage plan to $566.80 for “platinum” level coverage in the individual market. Prices range from $183.72 to $662.32 a month in the small group market, which will not offer catastrophic nor platinum plans. A 40-year-old can expect to pay from $176.89 a month for a bronze plan on the individual market to $967.85 for a platinum policy in the small group market.

The greatest number of plans in Colorado’s exchange will be offered by not-for-profit Rocky Mountain HMO, with 52 individual and 30 small group offerings, followed by Kaiser Permanente, with 27 individual and 24 small group plans. (Kaiser Health News is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.)

People in cities will have more plans to choose from than those in rural areas, but all Coloradans will have several plans to choose from

For-profit carriers including Cigna, Anthem and Humana have far fewer plans. Cigna and Humana are offering 11 and seven individual plans, respectively, and none in the small business market. Anthem is offering two small business plans only. Colorado’s new health insurance cooperative, Colorado HealthOP, established through the Affordable Care Act, will offer eight individual and six small business plans.

It is estimated that about 800,000 Coloradans are currently uninsured, about 15% of the state’s population.

8 Responses to “Colorado Exchange Releases Health Insurance Rates”

  1. Chuck says:

    Train wreck? What train wreck? This doesn’t look like a train wreck to me. I wonder how Chicken Little Republicans will spin this?

  2. alice says:

    I agree…

    Why is it Republicans are so set against the idea of more Americans having access to quality and affordable private health insurance? It doesn’t make sense. The more people that are insured, the less we all pay in insurance premiums, right? Isn’t that how insurance has worked historically? Risk pools? More people sharing more of the risk means less cost for everyone, right? Why would Republicans be fighting against that? They say it’s a massive government takeover. As I read the article above, I see no government run insurance companies mentioned, do you? I see only private insurance companies competing on a level playing field. Much like private football teams paying a fee to play in a municipal football stadium, right? What’s so bad about that?

  3. nick says:

    It’s because very small people with very small ideas like Ted Cruz and Rand Paul enjoy making noise. They can’t stand that American voters elected Barack Obama. Something like that would never happen in Confederate states like Texas or Kentucky. Not in a million years. We have seen their types before. The get elected to Congress with promises that they can’t possibly keep, they enjoy a very short career trying to be louder than everyone else and soon their political careers dry up and blow away with the wind. Very small people with very limited ideas, very large mouths and very stunted careers. Very sad.

  4. Mary says:

    Look up definitions of catastrophic & platinum.
    See what each plan covers. Bet you will be surprised.

  5. rob says:

    Having an insurance does not mean you can efford hlth care. Check what is the coverage copay and dydactible ( ihate writting on the phone). i have plenty ofpatients with insurance but can not efford care. with insurance you can not give them a disco
    unt copayhigher than inurance payment. we just give more clients to insurances and it is not how many people pays premiun it is who is in the samegroup . now ee have uninsure with poorhealthstucktogether in the same group. gooluck to al of us. im sorry try to write acomment it is noteasy so letitgo.

  6. Robert says:

    Obamacare is nothing more than a hodgepodge of Incongruent wish lists from one party rammed down America.
    If it is so good why are the legislature, supreme court and president exempt???
    Where is the infrastructure to care for 30 million new “insured” ?
    Whom is going to obligate the doctors to take on an already overloaded system. Most experienced physicians will opt out .
    Oh and by the way- if you like single payer medicine in America check out the VA.
    Finally, one does not determine the outcome of a project by what it looks like when it starts but when it is implemented. The jury is still out…do not gloat or comment till you see the results!

  7. nick says:

    “The jury is still out…do not gloat or comment till you see the results!”

    do not “gloat” or comment?

    Maybe better said…

    do not “complain” or comment, huh?

  8. adele shivdasani says:

    Seriously? You think this is not a big deal? Look at the catastrophic plan. For $200 a month, you have deductibles/out of pocket costs in the 1000s. This is absolutely bonkers. I bought my daughter (before Obamacare) a health plan for $104 a month, which had a high deductible, but at least once you paid the $8000, everything was covered at 100%. Not so with these plans. People that think it’s a great idea are getting employer plans and acting self righteous.