The average monthly cost of health insurance through Colorado’s exchange could rise about 1.6% next year in the Denver area, but the increase would have been substantially higher without the state’s reinsurance program.
Eight companies have filed to sell health insurance on the exchange for 2021. The rates apply only to plans sold directly to individuals and families, so people who get their insurance through an employer may see higher or lower costs.
The Division of Insurance estimated rates would have been about 14% higher in the Denver area without reinsurance, which essentially acts as a backstop for insurers who have customers with expensive needs. Because the insurance companies get back a portion of what they spend, they can set rates lower.
Statewide, premiums are expected to rise about 2.2%, based on preliminary filings with the Division of Insurance. It’s not known how the pandemic will affect rates over the next year, but insurers in some states have raised the possibility they may have to issue refunds because customers are getting less medical care. Federal law limits how much profit insurers can keep from the premiums they collect.
Projected rate changes are:
- Pueblo metro area: 9.8% increase
- Fort Collins metro area: 7.8% increase
- Greeley metro area: 7.7% increase
- Eastern non-metro counties: 5.6% increase
- Boulder metro area: 3% increase
- Denver metro area: 1.6% increase
- Grand Junction metro area: 0.3% decrease
- Western non-metro counties: 0.5% decrease
- Colorado Springs metro area: 1.6% decrease
Rates would have been about 17% higher statewide without reinsurance, according to the state. The biggest decreases are in the western counties, the Grand Junction area, the eastern counties and the Greeley and Pueblo areas.
The number of counties with only one insurer selling on the exchange is expected to drop from 22 to 10, as Rocky Mountain Health Plans and Bright Health expand their footprints.
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