By Katie Kerwin McCrimmon
Competition among health insurance companies should be brisk in Colorado, according to an analysis by a consumer health advocacy group.
“As we’ve dug more deeply, we’ve seen enough competition that we think Colorado’s going to have a really good marketplace,” said Dede de Percin, executive director of the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative (CCHI).
“Despite doomsday predictions, the state is not seeing ‘rate shock,’ so many of the choices will be more affordable, especially with the subsidies.”
Regulators from Colorado’s Division of Insurance (DOI) are reviewing all proposed plans and must approve or deny them by July 31. Then, they’ll be available to consumers starting on Oct. 1 on Colorado’s exchange, Connect for Health.
CCHI analysts found a wide range of prices as they tried to compare comparable “silver” plans that health insurance companies have filed with DOI. Plans for families showed the biggest price discrepancies. Some companies want to charge more than double the rate of the least-expensive carrier.
For example, in Durango,coverage for a family with two children could cost as little as $756 a month (before tax credits) and as much as $1,840 per month. The price differential was nearly as high in Fort Collins where base prices for family plans ranged from $718 to $1,481 per month. And in Denver, family plans ranged from $756 to $1,360 per month.
Insurance companies are allowed to charge different rates in different regions. They can also charge older people and smokers more for health insurance.
De Percin said her analysts saw some regional differences, but initial reviews show they were not as dramatic as they could have been.
CCHI analyzed base rates for 10 insurance companies: All Savers Insurance Company, Cigna, Colorado Choice, Colorado Health Insurance Cooperative, Denver Health, HMO Colorado, Humana, Kaiser, New Health Ventures and Rocky Mountain HMO.
Most consumers will pay less than the base rate because many will qualify for tax subsidies.
“Families of four making up to $94,000 will be eligible for premium subsidies, which will make coverage more affordable for Colorado families,” said de Percin.
Here’s a sample of CCHI’s findings:
Denver Individual Plans
* 27 year old: $207 to $373 per month
* 40-year old: $253 to $454 per month
Denver Family Plan (2 parents age 40, children under 18)
* $756 to $1,360 per month
Durango Individual Plans
* 27-year old: $207 to $504 per month
* 40-year old: $253 to $615 per month
Durango Family Plan (2 parents age 40, children under 18)
* $756 to $1,840 per month
Fort Collins Individual Plans
* 27-year old: $197 to $406 per month
* 40-year old: $240 to $495 per month
Fort Collins Family Plan (2 parents age 40, children under 18)
* $718 to $1,481 per month
Six insurers submitted documentation for the small business health exchange market: Colorado Choice, Colorado Health Insurance Cooperative, HMO Colorado (Anthem), Kaiser, Rocky Mountain HMO and See Change. Again, CCHI found that rates for individuals in the SHOP will vary by insurer and region:
Denver Small Group Plans
* 27-year-old: $252 to $341 per month
* 40-year old: $307 to $415
Durango Small Group Plans
* 27-year-old: $252 to $478 per month
* 40-year-old: $307 to $583 per month
Fort Collins Small Group Plans
* 27-year-old: $239 to $399 per month
* 40-year-old: $292 to $487 per month