DOI head Salazar praises Obamacare exodus and rate hikes in interview with Gazette

DOI head Salazar praises Obamacare exodus and rate hikes in interview with Gazette
CHI spox: “there are just fewer options…”

DENVER—The head of Colorado’s division of insurance praised the exodus of health care plans from the health exchange claiming it would help people during enrollment be less confused.

The Colorado Division of Insurance (DOI) this week released the preliminary information for proposed health insurance plans and premiums hikes for 2017, as high as 40 percent and reports indicated nearly 100,000 Coloradans will lose coverage.

Insurance Commissioner Marguerite Salazar suggested in an interview that fewer insurance options “might be a good thing for Colorado, because that could lead to less confusion once open enrollment begins.”

“Do we really need 1,000 plans?” Salazar told the Gazette.

Joe Hanel, spokesman for the Colorado Health Institute, who prior was a reporter covering the issue of Obamacare, said, “There are just fewer options to be able to shop around.”

Advancing Colorado Chief Jonathan Lockwood released the following statement:

“We need more than 1,000 plans to choose from, we need more than 1 insurer to choose from, we need the people in control of this system to view competition and options as a good thing. Clearly, the insurance commissioner and so-called health care advocates don’t get it. Coloradans need and want freedom and choices that put us in control of our own health care and give us the widest range of health care options. The more options and choice Coloradans have when it comes to health care, the better.”

According to the DOI, four insurance companies will not offer or will significantly rake back that amount of individual plans next year and a number of companies currently offering individual plans are seeking significant premium hikes for their 2017 individual plans.

Leaving many areas in the state with only one health care choice on the exchange, UnitedHealthcare and Humana Insurance will not offer individual plans in 2017. In addition, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield decided it will not offer its PPO (Preferred Provider Organization). In total, at least 92,000 people, or twenty percent of the individual market consumers, with individual plans from UnitedHealthcare, Humana Insurance, RMHP and Anthem, will need to find new coverage.

From the DOI:

Company Requested Overall Change
Anthem BCBS (HMO Colorado) 26.8%
Bright Health Plans New to market
Cigna 9.5%
Colorado Choice 36.33%
Denver Health 0.08%
Freedom Life Insurance 9.98%
Golden Rule 40.6%
Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Colorado 13.6%
National Foundation Life 9.98%
Rocky Mountain HMO 34.6%