Colorado health insurers seek 27 percent premium increase in individual market |

Colorado health insurers seek 27 percent premium increase in individual market

John Ingold
The Denver Post

Colorado health insurers are asking to be able to charge customers in the individual market nearly 27 percent more on average in premiums next year, the state Division of Insurance announced Friday.

The division must still review and approve the requests — after receiving public comment. But state Insurance Commissioner Marguerite Salazar said in a statement that the large proposed increases were not a surprise.

“I believe that the dubious situation at the federal level has contributed to the premium increase requests we’ve seen from the companies,” she said.

The price increases would impact a relatively small percentage of Coloradans. No more than 8 percent of people in the state shop for health insurance plans on their own.

But prices in the individual market have taken on outsized political significance in debates over the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, because they are one of that law’s most visible measurements of success or failure.

As such, the 2018 premium prices have been the subject of anticipation — and worry — for months. Colorado U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, a Republican, has blamed the Affordable Care Act for increases in premiums. Salazar, who was appointed by Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper, said earlier this year that Republican health care maneuvering at the federal level could cause massive premium spikes.

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