No rate shock in Colorado exchange

Coloradoans who plan on buying a health plan through the state exchange don’t have to worry about so-called rate shock, officials at Connect for Health Colorado, the state agency tasked with setting up its exchange, said last week.

Officials said Colorado’s exchange will offer “robust” choices to residents at affordable costs the same week Ohio state officials warned individual premiums may increase roughly 90 percent in their state under PPACA.

Connect to Health Colorado offered examples of individual and small-group insurance rates for coverage that will be available next year through Colorado’s newly formed state exchange.

The agency said individual plans offered in Denver would range in cost from $207 to $373 per month for a typical 27-year-old, subject to state approval, and $253 to $454 a month for a typical 40-year-old, depending on which insurer is selling the plan.

A family plan in Denver would range from $756 to $1,360 a month for two parents age 40 with children under 18.

The agency said that low- and middle-income consumers likely would pay far less than those rates because of tax subsidies. They estimated nearly a half-million Coloradoans will be eligible for those subsidies.

“Despite doomsday predictions, the state is not seeing ‘rate shock’, so many of the choices will be more affordable, especially with the subsidies,” said Dede de Percin, executive director of the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative.

Ten insurers will provide about 150 health plans for individuals and families through the exchange. They are: All Savers Insurance Co., Cigna, Colorado Choice, Colorado Health Insurance Cooperative, Denver Health, HMO Colorado, Humana, Kaiser, New Health Ventures and Rocky Mountain HMO.

And six carriers — Anthem, Colorado Choice, Colorado HealthOP, Kaiser Permanente, Rocky Mountain Health Plans and See Change — requested approval to provide nearly 100 health plans to small employers through the exchange.

All the rates have to be approved by the Colorado Division of Insurance, which has 60 days to review the filings.

Open enrollment is set to begin Oct. 1, with coverage beginning in January .

Most states that have released rates said PPACA isn’t causing major cost increases, but Ohio — the first federally-run exchange to unveil sample rates — estimated the law will cause health insurance costs to increase “significantly.”

In May, California released its sample rates, touting the fact that premiums will be lower-than-expected under PPACA. For the most part, California’s rates emerged as less expensive than expected, with supporters of the law claiming it was a “home run” for consumers. Some critics, though, called out Covered California, the agency tasked with setting up the exchange, for making an apples-to-oranges comparison.

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