Coloradans need relief from rising premium costs and deductibles
“Nearly 80 percent of uninsured Coloradans blame the high cost on their lack of insurance, but even those with insurance find health care unaffordable largely due to insurance premiums and out-of-pocket costs,” according to the Bell Policy Center.
Private, for-profit health insurance companies have failed to provide reasonably priced health insurance coverage for all Coloradans. Those who buy their insurance on the individual market “have seen dramatic premium increases, with a 20 percent rise in 2017 and 32 percent rise in 2018,” according to the Colorado Health Institute (CHI).
Since 2008, the growth in deductibles has far outpaced the growth in per capita income and inflation. Deductibles are a big contributor to rising out-of-pocket costs. In 2008, the average deductible stood at $2,100. In 2017, the average Colorado deductible for a family plan was about $3,700—10 percent higher than the national average.
More than 1/5 Coloradans have bad insurance or no insurance
Some 350,000 Coloradans are currently uninsured and over 850,000 Coloradans have health insurance that fails to protect them against medical debt and bankruptcy.
Some of the uninsured are among the state’s most vulnerable and hardest to reach. “CHI estimates that as many as 25 percent don’t have documentation, making them ineligible for most public insurance and unable to use the marketplace. About 61,000 are under the poverty line, nearly 50,000 don’t have a high school diploma, and about 115,000 are Hispanic. (Note: These categories overlap.)”
Employee health plans are getting worse
Private health insurers disrupt access to care using high deductibles, co-pays, narrow networks, and other barriers.
By 2017, 94 percent of Colorado employer-sponsored plans included a deductible, up from 79 percent in 2008. A 2017 survey of Colorado employers found that 18 percent were planning to increase deductibles and 15 percent were likely to increase the maximum out-of-pocket expense in their employees’ health plans.”
High costs prevent prevention
“People with high deductible health plans might forgo preventive care because of cost, (which could lead to) untreated illnesses. And data from the Colorado Health Access Survey suggest there might be a slight correlation between regions with a high percentage of underinsured people and a high percentage of residents visiting the emergency department,” according to CHI Research Analyst Nina Roumell.
Rural Coloradans especially need relief from the current crisis in health care premium costs
Some 14 counties in the state have only one health insurer. This results in single payer health care provided by for-profit corporations at monopoly rates that are increasingly unaffordable.
Health: Care and Costs in Colorado, Bell Policy Center, https://www.bellpolicy.org/wp-content/…/Health-Guide-to-Economic-Mobility.pdf
“Affordability in Colorado: Answers About Health Care Costs” (Colorado Health Institute Fact Sheet) https://www.coloradohealthinstitute.org/sites/default/files/file_attachments/CHA%20Q%26A%20no%20crops.pdf
COLORADO HEALTH ACCESS SURVEY 2017 (Updated: March 4, 2019) Colorado Health Institute
Mapping Data A to Z: Rise in Underinsurance, (published: July 13, 2016 and updated: April 11, 2017), Colorado Health Institute: “16.4 percent of Coloradans … are underinsured.”
Going for the Bronze: Underinsurance in Colorado, https://www.coloradohealthinstitute.org/research/going-bronze-underinsurance-colorado, Nina Roumell, Research Analyst (published: January 9, 2015 | Updated: April 19, 2017).