Garfield County encourages citizens to share their concerns over high health insurance premiums in December 4 meeting with Colorado insurance commissioner.

PRESS RELEASE
December 3, 2013

Wednesday, December 4, the Colorado Insurance Commissioner Marguerite Salazar invites the community to attend a meeting to discuss geographic rating factors and other health insurance coverage topics for 2014. Salazar is with the State of Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies Division of Insurance (DOI). The meeting is from 6 -7 pm in the Devereux Ballroom, Hotel Colorado, 526 Pine Street, Glenwood Springs.

Salazar and other DOI officials will discuss the geographic ratings for health insurance premiums. According to Salazar, in setting the rules and parameters under which insurance carriers file their premium rates, the DOI is guided by these principles:

  • Insurance rates should not be excessive, inadequate, or unfairly discriminatory;
  • Consumers should have the greatest choice of policies at the most reasonable cost possible; and
  • There should be open competition between insurers on a sound financial basis
  • She hopes that by engaging in these discussions, the state can achieve a fair and balanced outcome for 2015

There are two key factors which cause the differences in rates between regions:

  1. health care costs in that region; and
  2. the utilization, or how much the health care is used.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) required geography to be one of the few factors used by insurance companies to vary premiums. 2014 rates have been set and the discussions currently instigated by the DOI are to address concerns for the rates in 2015.

“Our message to the insurance commission is that Garfield County and 47 rural counties are unfairly treated and discriminated against in health insurance rates as a result of action taken by the Colorado Division of Insurance in health insurance rating areas,” said Garfield County Attorney Frank Hutfless. “This action resulted in substantial premium increases in Garfield County and throughout rural Colorado. Garfield County has also been categorized as a resort community, which is the rating resulting in the highest premiums for health insurance. This should not happen, because 22 counties throughout the state have higher insurance costs than Garfield County, and yet citizens pay lower insurance premiums in them.”
Garfield County points of interest on state geographic rating areas-|

John Martin has presented to Colorado Counties, Inc., Annual Winter Conference this week and the Board of County Commissioners will discuss the matter at Wednesday’s meeting in Glenwood Springs.

Tables:
Geographic Insurance Premium Rating Areas Comparison

Geographic Insurance Premium Rating Areas Comparison

State

Geographic Rating Areas

2010 Population

Population per Geographic Area

Colorado

11

5,029,196.00

457,199.64

Washington

5

6,724,540.00

1,344,908.00

Oregon

7

3,831,074.00

547,296.29

California

19

37,253,956.00

1,960,734.53

Idaho

7

1,567,582.00

223,940.29

Montana

4

989,415.00

247,353.75

Arizona

7

6,392,017.00

913,145.29

Nebraska

4

1,826,341.00

456,585.25

New Mexico

5

2,059,179.00

411,835.80

Kansas

7

2,853,118.00

407,588.29

Oklahoma

5

3,751,351.00

750,270.20

Iowa

7

3,046,355.00

435,193.57

Texas

26

25145561

967,136.96

Florida

67

18,801,310.00

280,616.57

 

Comparative Inpatient Hospital Charges
2012 Colorado Hospital Association

Other Pneumonia-moderate severity

 

 

 

Valley View Hospital

$24,477.00

 

Metro Average

$27,013.00

 

State-wide

$20,866.00

Heart Failure-major severity

 

 

 

Valley View Hospital

$27,266.00

 

Metro Average

$40,338.00

 

State-wide

$35,933.00

Knee joint replacement-moderate severity

 

 

 

Valley View Hospital

$55,392.00

 

Metro Average

$82,995.00

 

State-wide

$74,793.00

Intervertebral disc excision-minor severity

 

 

 

Valley View Hospital

$44,653.00

 

Metro Average

$45,334.00

 

State-wide

$40,882.00

Knee and lower leg procedure-minor severity

 

 

 

Valley View Hospital

$30,508.00

 

Metro Average

$56,106.00

 

State-wide

$47,061.00

Uterine and adnexa procedure-minor severity

 

 

 

Valley View Hospital

$36,240.00

 

Metro Average

$42,071.00

 

State-wide

$36,257.00

C-section-minor severity

 

 

 

Valley View Hospital

$23,637.00

 

Metro Average

$21,635.00

 

State-wide

$19,434.00

Vaginal delivery-minor severity

 

 

 

Valley View Hospital

$9,344.00

 

Metro Average

$12,195.00

 

State-wide

$19,434.00

Normal new born-minor severity

 

 

 

Valley View Hospital

$3,042.00

 

Metro Average

$4,644.00

 

Average cost for all nine procedures
Valley View Hospital – $28,555
Denver metro area hospitals – $36,533
Statewide average – $32,177

 

 

DORA Division of Insurance

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