We have covered the complete disaster that is Obamacare in great detail recently, from premiums skyrocketing in 2017, to the largest US Health Insurer throwing in the towel on Obamacare exchanges, and even Insurance companies suing the government over subsidies the government promised if the firms lost money as a result of being in the exchange.
And now for the most recent Obamacare debacle we look to Colorado, where more than 92,000 people will be losing their Obamacare health care coverage in 2017. Four large health insurers - UnitedHealthCare, Humana Insurance, Rocky Mountain Health Plans, and Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield - will either not be offering individual plans or reducing offerings in 2017, leaving individuals scrambling to find another plan.
From the Colorado Division of Insurance
As noted in a May 13 release, UnitedHealthcare and Humana Insurance will not offer individual plans in 2017, which impacts approximately 20,000 consumers in Colorado (UnitedHealthcare – 10,549; Humana – 9,914). In addition, Rocky Mountain Health Plans (RMHP) determined that it will reduce individual plan offerings for 2017, offering individual plans only in Mesa County, only via its Monument Health affiliate. Approximately 10,000 people currently enrolled in an individual RMHP plan will have to find another plan for 2017.
In addition, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield decided it will not offer its PPO (Preferred Provider Organization) individual plans for 2017, which impacts 62,310 people. However, Anthem will continue to offer HMO (Health Maintenance Organization) individual plans statewide, and these plans will be available to all consumers affected by the PPO decision.
All of these companies will continue to offer their small and large group plans for employers.
Rocky Mountain Health Plans has been a key player in the mountain areas and Western Slope, and its departure from the individual market will leave many areas with only one on-exchange insurance company — Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s HMO division – for individual plans.
“I’d rather these companies continued in the individual market,” noted Commissioner Salazar. “But in the larger picture, what’s taking place is a market correction; the free market is at work. And it is important to recognize that this is a market correction taking place on a national scale, not just in Colorado. While it was good initially to have so many companies offering so many individual plans, this could be an indication that there were too many options for the market to support.”
“It’s also important to highlight that we are not seeing this market correction in the small group market,” continued the Commissioner. “In many ways, that market seems to be stable.”
Number of People Impacted
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, Nov. 1, 2016–Jan. 31, 2017. This represents approximately 20 percent of the 450,000 Coloradans who get their insurance through the individual market, either through the state exchange, Connect for Health Colorado, or off the exchange. Those 450,000 consumers with plans in the individual market represents approximately 7.7 percent of Coloradans. At least 51 percent of people in Colorado, around 2.8 million, continue to get their health insurance through an employer.
"Companies are still figuring it out - where to sell, how to sell, how to price - which is why we're seeing some companies pull back on individual plans or requesting significant increases" said Insurance commissioner Marguerite Salazar.
To add to the misery, most of those remaining on the exchange are asking the board to approve steep price increases, which is consistent with what we've seen across the board with Obamacare proposals for 2017. Golden Rule is seeking a 40.6% rate hike while Rocky Mountain HMO wants to raise rates by 34.6%, and Colorado Choice is asking for a 36.3% jump.
Rate hikes, just like in every other market, are being justified by saying that "the people enrolled in individual plans have used more healthcare services and with greater frequency than expected." - there's a surprise, so everyone else is now paying for this with significantly increased premiums. Isn't socialism fun?
Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) said that "it's time for the president to admit Obamacare is a disaster for the American people. When the president rammed his partisan health care law through congress, he repeatedly promised the American people that if you like your plan, you can keep it. President Obama and those that supported this law are now silent as 92,000 Coloradans must find a new insurance plan."
Jonathan Lockwood, executive director of the free-market group Advancing Colorado said that "Coloradans get sucker punched harder year after year by skyrocketing health care costs that we were promised would come to an end under Obamacare" - no no Jonathan, we're afraid everyone was sucker punched.