Colorado lawmakers have proposed legislation that would tighten restrictions on health insurance carriers regarding premium increases and the timeliness of claims payment. The bill to limit premium increases was sponsored by state representative Morgan Carroll (D), who cited a 60% increase in health insurance premiums in Colorado between 2001 and 2005. During the same time, wages rose only 13%, with an inflation rate of 10%. The Colorado Association of Health Plans – representing 11 of Colorado’s largest health insurance companies – is fighting against the bill, claiming that the reason premiums have increased is because health care expenses have increased proportionately, and that 85% of premiums collected are used to pay claims.
I know that health care has gotten more expensive over the years. We can’t just turn back the clock and expect to get today’s health care for what it cost twenty years ago. But I’m not so sure about the insurance companies’ claims that they’re spending almost all of their revenues on health care expenses for their insureds. Their profits are just too good for them to be able to play the struggling company card. I know that they’re paying a lot more for health care than they were ten or twenty years ago, but they’re also paying handsome dividends to their shareholders, and their top executives are a tad bit more-than-adequately compensated. I’m glad that Colorado’s lawmakers are addressing the problem that skyrocketing health insurance premiums is creating for the state’s residents. I don’t know if this bill will turn out to be a solution, but at least the issue is on the table.