To Make a Short Story Long

In my last post, I discussed a survey from the Commonwealth Fund.  It found that 89% of people who’ve sought health insurance in the last 3 years weren’t able to get anything – most of them couldn’t afford the premiums.  I thought this sounded a little funny.

America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) shows conflicting information based on detailed member benefits data from AHIP member companies.  The AHIP information is based on data from several million who applied for non-group coverage.  It shows that nearly nine out of 10 people who completed an application were offered coverage.

From my experience as a health insurance broker in Colorado, which is a state that allows non-group insurers to underwrite an applicants medical history, the AHIP information seems to be much closer.  However, the AHIP information is taken from applicants that have filled out a non-group application.  If I talk to a client who has a pre-existing condition that we know would get them declined with any company in Colorado, I wouldn’t have them waste time filling out the application.  Instead, we would take them directly to non-underwritten group plans if they can afford the inflated premium.  So those clients that couldn’t afford the premium for a non-underwritten plan, like CoverColorado, wouldn’t be included in AHIP’s statistics because they’ve never filled out an application for non-group coverage.

Another variable not taken into the AHIP information: People we talk to that are healthy enough, but can’t afford any of the premiums.  So they never fill out an application.

With that being said, the numbers wouldn’t be as high as 9 out of 10 as AHIP’s numbers show.  But nowhere close to 1 out of 10 like the Commonwealth Survey shows.  In my experience, I would say it should fall at a little more than 8 out of 10 people who seek health insurance are able to get it.  So to make a short story long, this would give us our uninsured numbers:

788,000 Colorado uninsured
i.e. 17% of the Colorado’s population don’t have health insurance and just over 8 out of 10, (83%) do.

About Jay Norris

Jay operates a health insurance brokerage in Colorado, where he helps individuals and small groups obtain and maintain health insurance coverage.
Complimenting his work as a health insurance broker, Jay also provides data analysis and creates visualizations that are easily understood by consumers and other stakeholders in Colorado’s health insurance market.

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