Nov 1, 2023 - Politics

Colorado health insurance prices to increase next year

Illustration of stacks of one hundred dollar bills laid in a medical cross shape

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The cost of health insurance purchased on the individual marketplace will increase 10% in 2024, on par with the prior year.

Why it matters: The rates are being closely monitored after Colorado mandated 10% cuts for premiums as part of a controversial 2021 law creating a public option, and this year's numbers started a debate about whether it's working as intended.

State of play: This is the first year the state's insurance commissioner had the authority to challenge insurance rates at a hearing, but none was held. Instead, the agency pressed insurers behind the scenes to push down rates and called the outcome a success.

  • So far only one-third of the individual plans and 80% of Colorado Option plans on the small employers market are hitting the state's targets, the Colorado Sun reports.

What they're saying: "The division continues to hammer away at health care costs, working to limit rising costs and save people money on health care," Insurance Commissioner Michael Conway said in a statement.

By the numbers: The increases for individual plans range from 6.5% for Rocky Mountain HMO to 19.6% for Denver Health Medical Plan, the Denver Business Journal reports.

  • The rate changes on the small-group market range from a 2.3% cut by Kaiser Permanente to a 12.3% increase from Anthem.

The other side: Only 7% of the state purchases insurance on the individual market, so the impact is minimal. About half get insurance through work and the state's forced price reductions don't apply.

  • Moreover, critics of the state's public option law note that four health insurers are no longer offering individual or small market plans amid the tougher rules.
  • Colorado's Health Care Future, which opposes the law, called it a broken promise that is only leading to higher prices and less competition.
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