Many Coloradans who buying individual health insurance plans for next year could find a welcome surprise: lower premiums.
In 2019, premiums for individual health insurance plans through the Affordable Care Act are only increasing by an average of 5.6 percent, according to the state's insurance division.
That's a dramatic decrease from last year, when about 400,000 people who bought their own insurance saw an average increase of more than 30 percent.
"The 2019 premiums are the lowest we’ve approved in years, with minimal increases and, in some cases, decreases," Interim Insurance Commissioner Michael Conway said in a statement. "This is a dramatic change from last year’s severe increases, which were exacerbated by instability at the federal level and the Trump administration’s last-minute decision to cut off cost-sharing reduction payments."
The average increase does not take into account tax credits.
The Colorado Division of Insurance said those who get tax credits and shop around this year can expect a drop in their premiums of up to 50 percent.
Conway said this comes despite turmoil in Washington over health insurance.
"Things have been more stable here and I do think that's at least in part due to the fact that we have our own exchange," Conway said in a phone interview with CPR News. "It allows us to react to the market and the changes the federal level that sometimes seem like they're coming at us constantly."
While the premium softening is a positive, Conway said much more still needs to be done to rein in overall healthcare costs.