Colorado exchange rates to vary widely

(AP photo/Peter M. Fredin) (AP photo/Peter M. Fredin)

In Colorado, rich, "platinum level" health insurance plans will be scarce in 2014, and coverage prices will vary widely.

Officials at the Colorado Division of Insurance Friday posted the final rates for exchange plans and non-exchange plans for 2014.

A total of 18 carriers will be selling coverage in the state in the coming year.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act calls for carriers to sell individual and small-group plans at four standardized coverage levels. The cheapest, bronze-level plans cover about 60 percent of the actuarial value of a standard package of benefits. The most expensive plans — platinum plans — cover 90 percent of the value of the benefits package.

In Colorado, three companies will offer small-group plans at the platinum level throughout the state. Two of the three companies are units of UnitedHealth Group Inc.

At the individual level, two companies — Aetna Inc. and Cigna Corp. — will offer platinum plans off the exchange throughout the state. 

Platinum coverage will be available through the individual exchange in only a few markets.

At the bronze level, a 40-year-old man living in Denver could pay rates ranging from $186.20 per month to $333.89 per month for each participating exchange carrier's cheapest exchange plan.

Off the exchange, the same man could pay $193.65 to $318.43 per month for non-exchange bronze coverage.

Similar variations exist in other markets and at other coverage levels.

In some cases, carriers have tried to use narrow provider networks to hold down rates or justified higher rates by offering bigger rates. The Colorado rate charts do not include any indicators of plan network size or quality.

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