Denver, CO, December 16, 2013– The Colorado Association of Health Plans (CAHP) released the following statement today in response to consumer questions regarding anti-discrimination provisions in state law as they relate to health insurance coverage for transgender individuals:

“We would like all consumers to know that they can shop for health insurance coverage with confidence.  All CAHP member carriers are conducting a thorough review of their coverage and processes to ensure they will cover medically necessary services for transgender individuals to the same extent that those services are covered for non-transgender individuals enrolled in the same benefit plan,” said Executive Director Ben Price.

CRS 10-3-1104 prohibits carriers from discriminating against transgender individuals with regard to coverage eligibility, premiums, and benefits payable under a policy.  It is important to note that covered services vary from carrier to carrier and from benefit plan to benefit plan.  Therefore, it is important to thoroughly review a plan’s Evidence of Coverage (EOC) form before making any purchasing decision.  The EOC is the most comprehensive document available that describes which services are available and which services are excluded from a policy.  It is also important to note that all benefits are typically subject to the carrier’s medical necessity criteria and clinical guidelines. 

Finally, consumers may see “gender identity disorder” (GID) exclusions still listed on carriers’ EOCs.  EOC forms currently being used were typically generated last year before further clarity surfaced regarding Colorado’s anti-discrimination laws.  As such, consumers should know that carriers are working to ensure GID exclusions listed in current EOCs will not be enforced and that GID exclusions will be removed from future EOCs.

“We understand that potential customers likely have specific questions around what is covered.  We recommend that customers start by thoroughly reviewing the plan’s Evidence of Coverage.  If questions persist, you are encouraged to contact a health coverage guide, broker, or individual carrier, since benefits vary from carrier to carrier.”

The Colorado Association of Health Plans (CAHP) supports the growth and development of health-delivery systems in their efforts to provide access to high-quality, cost-effective health care to the citizens of Colorado.


 
 
High Healthcare Costs in mountain areas are driving higher insurance rates, angering residents of mountain areas: 

High Insurance Rates Anger Some Ski-Country Coloradans Gas, groceries and rents are all pricier in Summit and Eagle counties than in Denver, just a hundred miles away. Health insurance costs a lot more in these mountain communities, too, and some folks are crying foul. Their congressman — a Democrat — is asking the feds for relief.

Read this story

 
 
 
 
Colorado Springs Gazette - Of the nearly 250,000 Coloradans facing cancellation notices from their health insurance carriers, more than 95 percent were offered a chance at "early renewal." The figure offered the first glimpse of how many people could keep their current coverage until late 2014, despite being initially told their plans would be discontinued past Jan. 1.

Full Article Here
 
 
By Kelsey Miller | Kaiser Health News, Thursday, September 12, 4:26 AM
As states are setting up their online health insurance marketplaces, officials are watching for look-alike websites that can lead consumers to be the victims of fraud or simply, confusion.

States are on the lookout for websites created by interest groups, private insurance companies and sometimes scammers that have similar web addresses and the appearances of the official state exchange websites. Officials are intervening in some cases and trying to make sure consumers are able to spot a fake site before they give out private information.

Full Story Here

 
 
Insurance premiums for policies that will be available to Colorado individuals and small businesses in 2014 appear to be lower than many observers had warned, several business and health-care experts said Friday.

The Colorado Division of Insurance announced that it has approved 541 different plans from 18 separate insurers to be available in the individual and small-business markets next year.


Denver Business Journal - Full Story Here
 
 
Denver Post - A leading Colorado consumer advocacy group has completed a detailed study of new rates to be offered on the state health insurance exchange and found the price ranges to be "just right."


Click Here For Full Article
 
 
Health Policy Solutions - Rates vary widely, should promote brisk insurance market - “As we’ve dug more deeply, we’ve seen enough competition that we think Colorado’s going to have a really good marketplace,” said Dede de Percin, executive director of the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative (CCHI).

Click Here For Full Article

 
 
Early findings look good for consumers - "So far, we're seeing some great rates." - Initial information shows rates look good for first year on Colorado Exchange.

May 31 - Health Policy Solutions - Rates ‘decent’ for Colorado health exchange
 
 
DENVER, CO--(May 22, 2013) - The Colorado Association of Health Plans is pleased to announce that every member of our health insurance plan association, a group that already insures just over 3 million Coloradans, will be offering a product on the Connect for Health Colorado exchange beginning October 1.  

Today’s announcement that the Colorado Division of Insurance is in the process of reviewing hundreds of proposed new health insurance plans designed to offer coverage to consumers and small businesses is an important milestone in our shared efforts with the health care community in Colorado.

“The May rate filing  is the next step in the long process that CAHP and our industry has supported, one that will lead to lower numbers of uninsured in Colorado,” said CAHP Executive Director Ben Price,  “ The number of insurers that have filed plans to be sold on the new exchange shows our industry’s commitment to quality, affordable healthcare for all."

The ccoverage offered in these new plans is quite different, particularly for individual plans, than insurance plans consumers have seen before.  The new plans will be sold on a guaranteed basis regardless the health of the purchaser, with, no maximum lifetime benefit, and will have many coverages that just weren’t included in plans sold on the market before.

“The comparison with past coverage  becomes less apples-to-apples and more apples-to-mangoes, these are new plans, with all new benefit packages, and the premiums are new as well,” said Price.

Many Coloradans  who had no insurance before and who couldn’t buy in this market, will be able to get insurance through the exchange.

ACA implemented hefty new taxes and fees that we think are misguided, including the new “Health Insurance Tax,” that becomes a part of the cost of insurance for the consumer.  The cost of that tax is a part of what makes up insurance premiums. This tax is not needed to make the Affordable Care Act work, and CAHP will continue to call for its repeal.  Taxing consumers more for having health insurance coverage flies in the face of the goals of the Affordable Care Act.

It’s important to understand that in Colorado, health insurance is regulated by the Division of Insurance, which will now take a look at these rate filings to make sure they meet all the newly established requirements.  Ultimately, the Division of Insurance will determine which plans will be approved for sale.  

“Insurance premiums are a reflection of the cost of providing medical care.  Anyone who has seen a hospital bill knows that health care in the US isn’t cheap,” said Price, “ We’re getting close to the full implementation of ACA, which was about reform and modernization.  But, reform and modernization hasn’t addressed cost, and that’s what has to happen now.  We have to tackle that conversation sooner rather than later.”

The Colorado Association of Health Plans is the trade association for health insurance carriers in Colorado.  We promote high-quality, affordable, evidence based health care in Colorado through advocacy, education, prevention, and health policy research, and to advance a vibrant, private-public system with consumer choice, product flexibility and innovation. We support initiatives empowering consumers with information they need to make health care decisions, promoting health care quality in partnership with health care providers and expanding affordable health care coverage to all Coloradans.

 
 
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AHIP - The ACA imposes a new $100 billion sales tax on health insurance that will add to the cost of coverage for people purchasing coverage on their own, small employers, Medicare Advantage beneficiaries, and Medicaid managed care programs. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has said that this tax will be “largely passed through to consumers in the form of higher premiums.” An analysis by Oliver Wyman estimates that this tax alone “will increase premiums in the insured market on average by 1.9% to 2.3% in 2014,” and by 2023 “will increase premiums 2.8% to 3.7%.”

The numbers for Colorado hit home, with the cost of this tax to a family that gets their insurance through a small employer estimated to total $7005 over the first ten years. For more on how these numbers impact you, view the AHIP Colorado Infographic, or the national impact information here.

Go here to view more information from America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), or download the PDF with Colorado Information for your use.

 
 
Colorado officials are just waking up to the enormous task of finishing a massive health insurance exchange within nine months, one that will have to sign up 800 to 1,000 customers a day under byzantine rules.

Read more:New Colorado health exchange may sign up nearly 1,000 people a day - The Denver Post