Colorado insurance commissioner blames Trump administration for uncertainty, 27% rate hike requests

DENVER – Colorado’s insurance commissioner is blaming the Trump administration for playing games with the health care market and saying it is causing instability in the insurance marketplace that might be to blame for large premium hike requests for operators in the state for 2018.

The Colorado Division of Insurance on Friday released the premium rate request hikes for individual and small group markets operating on Colorado’s health insurance exchange, Connect for Health Colorado, for 2018.

The average request hike for all plans across the state on the individual market is 27 percent, and the small group market average premium request across all the companies planning to offer plans next year is 7.5 percent.

Premiums went up 20 percent this year on the individual market, so the 27 percent hike request across all plans in the state would be an increase over this year’s hike.

Colorado Insurance Commissioner Marguerite Salazar says that the high hikes are a product of uncertainty for insurers in the marketplaces.

“It remains pivotal that the Trump administration stops using people’s access to health care as a bargaining chip and commits to funding the Cost-Sharing Reductions in 2018,” Salazar said.

“These premium increases are not a surprise,” she continued. “I believe that the dubious situation at the federal level has contributed to the premium increase requests we’ve seen from the companies.”

Those sentiments were shared by the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative.

“The signs that the market was stabilizing should encourage Congress to improve the Affordable Care Act, not repeal it. If the Senate bill passes, Coloradans will see tax credits decrease, seniors charged more, and more rate increases,” said CCHI’s Adam Fox. “We believe insurers should be working with providers to improve quality and keep coverage…

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