Obamacare enrollees in Colorado will see their premiums go up an average of 20 percent next year and nearly 100,000 will lose their plans, according to data released Monday by the state’s Division of Insurance.
Denver’s 9 News called the hikes "historic."
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Four years after the Affordable Care Act transformed the health insurance market in Colorado, thousands of Coloradans learned Monday they might very well be on the hook for historically large health insurance premium increases come next year.
The Colorado Division of Insurance released its preliminary rate adjustment proposals Monday morning, and the figures are destined to become fodder for politicians who have been sharply critical of Obamacare’s inability to reign in health care costs.
"For the individual market in 2017, many companies have requested significant premium increases," the Division of Insurance said.
Some enrollees will see rate hikes as high as 40 percent. Overall, individual plan holders will see their premiums go up 20.2 percent. Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield requested a premium increase of 26.8 percent, Rocky Mountain Health Plans HMO requested a 34.6 percent increase, Colorado Shield requested an increase of 36.33 percent, and Golden Rule insurance requested a hike of 40.6 percent.
In addition, four insurance companies either will "not offer or will significantly cut back individual plans," leaving nearly 100,000 Coloradans without health insurance.
Rocky Mountain Health Plans is pulling out of the exchanges in all but Mesa County, which will "leave many areas with only one" insurance company to choose from.
"Around 92,000 people with individual plans from UnitedHealthcare, Humana Insurance, RMHP and Anthem will need to find other coverage for 2017 during open enrollment," the Division of Insurance said.
When selling Obamacare in 2009, Democratic incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet promised, "If you have coverage and you like it, you can keep it."
"If you have a doctor and you like him or her you should be able to keep them as well," he said. "We will not take those choices away from you."
Advancing Colorado, a free market non-profit organization, said the premium increases will hurt Bennet’s reelection campaign.
"These rate hikes are going to kill Sen. Michael Bennet's constituents, especially lower-income and vulnerable communities, with hugely unaffordable rate hikes," said Advancing Colorado Chief Jonathan Lockwood. "Coloradans are under duress when it comes to health care because of his die-hard support for this disaster."