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Health News Colorado
By
Katie Kerwin McCrimmon and Diane Carman

Consumers are pressing for more affordable insurance as carriers unveiled proposed 2015 rates that range from 22 percent cheaper than this year’s premiums to nearly 18 percent more expensive.....

.......Adam Fox, director of strategic engagement for CCHI said he’s pleased that some carriers are actually proposing rate cuts. For years, health premiums have been rising every year, often at double-digit rates.

“It’s very encouraging to see some of the rates actually going down, but I think the fact that rates are all over the map is largely due to the fact that insurers are still figuring out this new market,” Fox said.

He expects competition and increased transparency under the Affordable Care Act to continue driving premiums down.

“Anthem and the (Colorado HealthOP) both want to go down (in cost). That’s going to mean increased competition for the consumers at the lower end of the price spectrum,” Fox said. “Kaiser may have come in very competitive last round and they got a lot of the Connect for Health enrollments because of that. Depending on the health of the population they enrolled, they may be seeing increased costs.”

While Fox is generally optimistic about proposed decreases, CCHI is working with another consumer group to ensure rates are as low as possible.

“Before any rate increase is approved, these companies ought to prove they are doing everything they can to lower costs — and not by cutting care and raising deductibles, but by cutting waste and helping Coloradans stay healthier,” said Danny Katz, foundation director for CoPIRG. “The Division of Insurance needs to put these plans under a microscope.”

Katz said insurance companies must aggressively drive a hard bargain with hospitals and reward doctors for keeping people healthy.

“Unfortunately, too often, they just keep raising rates and out-of-pocket costs to consumers,” Katz said......

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