The Colorado Division of Insurance recently released the 2010 small group market report. The number of employers in Colorado offering small group health insurance dropped by 10% compared with 2009, and the number of Colorado residents with small group health insurance coverage dropped by 7%. The report contains comprehensive data on the availability of coverage, carriers in the small group market, pricing, and how the rating flexibility laws have impacted the market. […]
A survey conducted by the Lockton Benefit Group found that premiums for employer-sponsored group health insurance policies in Colorado were increasing by an average of 14.4% for 2011, which was “significantly higher than reported nationally.” This was the tenth year in a row that premiums saw double digit increases, but the current increase is the largest in five years, and most employers surveyed (more than 73%) plan to make plan changes or increase employee contributions to offset the large rate increases. […]
[…] 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.
[…] 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.
[…] One of the criticisms of the private health insurance industry is that there isn’t much real competition. Proponents of the co-op idea believe that co-ops would increase competition and thus drive down costs. I’m sure that this is the case in some markets, but here in Colorado we have a pretty robust health insurance market, with lots of companies competing with each other. […]
[…] I have yet to see an article that is critical of the public health insurance idea and also proposes alternative solutions. Here in Colorado, we have 800,000 people who are uninsured. Nationwide, that number is 47 million, and that was last year, before the recession hit and unemployment numbers started to climb. I have no doubt that it is higher now. […]
[…] going uninsured means that if (when) they do run into an expensive medical problem in the future, they will be out of luck, as Cover Colorado (and other high risk pools) will enforce a waiting period on pre-existing conditions. So we still find ourselves in a situation where people are uninsured and lacking realistic access to health care.
[…] Because nearly two thirds of small businesses in Colorado currently receive a discount on their health insurance based on health and claims history, and because any such discounts will be disappearing in January because of HB1355, I think this could be playing a significant role in the premium increases that Colorado employers will be facing next year.
[…] If our overall goal is increasing the insured population among employees of small businesses here in Colorado and across the country, I think the answer lies with the government covering some portion of the premiums or the claims, in addition to asking employers to take more responsibility for their employees’ health insurance.
[…] 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.
[…] 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.
Colorado House Bill 1355 (in reference to small groups between 2 and 50 employees) was passed by the senate today including an amendment that would have the change slowly brought in over the course of two years. So it will go back to the House for consideration of this (and other) amendments. HB1355 is a… Read more about Colorado House Bill 1355 Passes Senate
The health insurance system works best when as many people as possible (preferrably all people) are covered. In a free market system, legislating the insurers is a delicate balancing act. On the one hand, we need to keep them from trying to only insure healthy people and excluding those with health conditions. But on the… Read more about Improving Colorado’s Health Insurance Market