[…] When it came to the mandate, however, things got a little stickier. I believe that lawmakers understood that allowing people to purchase health insurance without medical underwriting, while also allowing them to choose whether or not to obtain coverage, would amount to much higher premiums for the people who choose to have coverage. Initially they drafted a reasonably strong mandate, but caved in to criticism and weakened the mandate to the point where the fine for not carrying health insurance will only amount to a fraction of the cost of buying a policy […]
Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield
[…] Critics are questioning why insurers keep bringing up HB1355, as the trend in national health care reform these days is towards guaranteed issue health insurance without underwriting – which is what HB 1355 was all about. But while HB1355 was beneficial to groups with unhealthy members, the majority of small groups in Colorado had a discount before HB1355 took effect. And if those groups are unable to afford their new, higher rates, they can opt to cancel their coverage – which leads to higher prices for groups that remain covered. On a national level, as far as individual health insurance is concerned, HB1355 should be considered a warning sign. Getting rid of medical underwriting is the right, and fair, thing to do. But not if people can come and go as they please in the insurance system. We’ve seen what the impact will be on premiums if guaranteed issue coverage takes effect without a strong mandate requiring people to carry health insurance. I think this is why insurers are still bringing up HB1355. It’s impacting all small groups in Colorado now – there’s no more putting it off. And significant rate hikes for healthy groups should serve as a warning for what we’ll likely see in the individual market if reform passes without a way to make sure that everyone is part of the insurance pool.
[…] Wellpoint actuaries have crunched the numbers and come up with their best estimates as to how premiums would be impacted in the 14 states where Wellpoint operates. Colorado is one of those states, and for the first time we’re able to see a detailed analysis of what would likely happen to premiums for people here. […]
[…] Many proponents of a shift away from medical underwriting want to require everyone to carry health insurance. That would help spread the cost of care across a larger population, and would likely help to contain the price increase that we would see if medical underwriting were to cease. But my guess is that we would still see a rather dramatic increase in premiums.
The Colorado Division of Insurance has finished compiling and organizing the data for 2008. Visit the Colorado Health Insurance Company Complaint Ratio Comparison page to see the updated complaint, revenue, and market share statistics from the division of insurance along with the A.M. Best Rating information we’ve added […]
Much has been said about the merits of preventive medicine. It’s been a major talking point for politicians on both sides of the aisle throughout the health care reform debate. Whatever reform measures end up being enacted, there is likely to be an enhanced focus on screening tests. […] But does preventive medicine really help? […]
[…] This is a big step forward for health insurance. Boulder is a great place to start something like this, as residents there do utilize alternative health care a bit more than the average Colorado resident. But over the years, we’ve had inquiries from people all over the state who are looking for a health insurance policy that will allow them to utilize alternative care. […]
[…] Electronic medical records that allow underwriters to see complete medical histories at the time of application would greatly reduce the number of policy recissions. Then again, there’s a lot of talk on the table right now about eliminating medical underwriting all together, which would solve the problem once and for all.
[…] The industry as a whole chalked up a profit margin of more than 10% in 2007, but that was carried by the life insurance side of the industry. Health insurance companies don’t fare nearly as well when it comes to making profits. Far more of their revenues are eaten up by claims, which continue to grow year after year as health care costs increase.
[…] As readers of the Colorado Health Insurance Insider know, Insurance markets pool risk. An insurance system will only work if the exposures of low risk individuals are pooled together with the exposures of higher risk individuals. Life insurance, homeowner’s insurance, auto insurance; they all work the same way. If health insurers are required to offer guaranteed access without an effective mandate requiring all Americans to maintain coverage, there would be a clear disincentive for healthy people to secure or maintain coverage. […]
I am not sure where to begin dissecting the logic in RNC Chairman Michael Steel’s recent attempt to sway public opinion on gay marriage. He is trying to turn gay marriage into an economic issue by maintaining that it will hurt profits for businesses if they have to provide health insurance benefits to partners of gay employees. […]
[…] I would argue that instead of being considered too big to fail, major health insurance carriers might be seen as too important to fail. AIG’s collapse would have been primarily indirect, but health insurance companies work directly with individual Americans. Even in large groups, individual employees are the ones who carry the id cards with the insurance carrier’s logo on them. […]
[…] The changes will go into effect on July 1, 2009 and will require all Colorado health insurance providers to cover preventive colon cancer screening for policy holders over the age of 50, and screening for younger policy holders who are considered at high risk for colon cancer. The legislation pertains to both individual and group health insurance policies. […]
We’re pleased to report that Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield is now offering same sex domestic partner coverage on individual health insurance policies in Colorado. Many large group plans have been offering coverage for same sex domestic partners for a while now, but this hasn’t been the case in the individual health insurance market. […]
[…] Increasing the income limits and enrolling more people doesn’t require additional infrastructure or administrative changes. Working within our current framework, but with expanded enrollment, seems to be an efficient way of going about this process. It’s also probably the quickest way to actually get health insurance coverage to Colorado residents who need it.
[…] I looked at premiums for $5,000 deductible HSA qualified policies from Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna, Assurant, Cigna, Humana, and United HealthOne. If lawmakers disallow the use of gender to determine individual health insurance premiums in Colorado, younger women and older men will have lower premiums, while younger men and older women will have higher premiums. There won’t be any actual benefit to the overall population – health insurance premiums will just be averaged for men and women.
The Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation and Anthem employees donated $1.6 million in 2008 to a wide range of organizations dedicated to improving health and wellness in Colorado. One of the recipients was the Colorado Coalition for the Medically Underserved, an organization that advocates for people in Colorado who are without health insurance. […]
I recently posted an article on the Colorado Health Insurance Insider about my views on making Medicare available as an opt-in option for Americans younger than 65. I got a comment on the article that I thought brought up some good points and wanted to expand on some of the ideas. The reader pointed out that a good number of private health insurance plans are non-profit […]
[…] Here in Colorado, Cigna has just started offering individual health insurance policies, and Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield has rolled out their new Smart Sense plan for individuals. I doubt that reputable carriers like Cigna and Anthem would be putting time and money into new plans if they sensed single payer health care just around the corner.
[…] I’m a big fan of no-frills health insurance policies. I like high deductible policies with solid coverage after the deductible is met. We’re excited to see more details about SmartSense, but at first glance it’s looking like it will be a good option for clients in Colorado who are looking for a policy from a reputable insurer at an affordable price.
John Martie, President of Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield in Colorado, has written an article with pointers consumers can use when choosing a health insurance policy. His article focuses on group coverage, but I think his advice is just as pertinent for people searching for their own health insurance in the individual market. […]
[…] HB1355 prohibits any type of rating based on health history of a group. So while I’m sure the businesses that had been paying an increased rate for their health insurance will be grateful to see the implementation of HB1355, there are four Colorado businesses that I know will not benefit at all, and will actually see significantly higher health insurance premiums next year.
[…] Of course Colorado – like most states – uses medical underwriting on individual health insurance policies. And if underwriting were no longer allowed on Colorado policies, we could very well see the average family premium exceed $700/month. But for now, $5000 goes a long way towards paying for a health insurance policy in Colorado. […]
[…] Once HB1355 takes effect in Colorado in January, we’re likely to see even more small businesses switching to lower-cost, high deductible health insurance plans. HSAs will eventually lead to more transparency in health care and more savvy consumers. But it will be a bumpy road for families adjusting to the change
[…] if you currently have pre-existing health conditions and would like to double or triple your health insurance premiums, contact your legislators and tell them to remove underwriting from individual/family health insurance in Colorado so healthy people no longer have a reason to purchase coverage for the possibility of future health problems.