Coloradans Face Volatile Insurance Market As Open Enrollment Begins

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Photo: Health Care (iStock)

With open enrollment for health care beginning Nov. 1, many Coloradans face higher health insurance premiums. The demise of the non-profit carrier Colorado HealthOP also means some residents have to find a new insurance carrier.

People have from Nov. 1 to Jan. 31 to shop for health insurance -- the third open enrollment period since the Affordable Care Act went into effect in 2013.

Colorado Insurance Commissioner Marguerite Salazar spoke with Colorado Matters host Ryan Warner about open enrollment.

10 things to know about health insurance in 2016:

  • Insurance rates will rise on average by 7 percent in 2016 -- about 10 percent in the individual market and about 3 percent in the small group market
  • Last year, rates were significantly lower, rising on average by 1.2 percent
  • Colorado's rates follow a nationwide trend toward higher prices
  • The increased cost of insurance is prompting a debate over whether the Affordable Care Act can keep prices down for consumers
  • Costs are rising more for people in some regions of Colorado than others. In western Colorado, the largest average increase in the individual market is almost 26 percent. In Boulder County, it will be just under 6 percent in the individual market
  • The demise of the non-profit insurer Colorado HealthOP means 80,000 Coloradans who need to find new policies
  • As health insurance rates rise, federal tax credits for low-income consumers are also going up
  • Three carriers, including the Colorado HealthOP, will no longer offer plans in 2016. Three new carriers will join the market
  • The Colorado Health Institute predicts the volatility could continue for another year or more as additional uninsured people enter the market
  • Colorado consumers can shop for plans at Connect for Health Colorado.