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Division of Insurance Releases Preliminary Look at 2015 Health Plans

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

 

Contact: Vincent Plymell, Communications Manager, Colorado Division of Insurance, 303.894.2261, vincent.plymell@state.co.us

 

Division of Insurance Releases Preliminary Look at 2015 Health Plans 

Final Approval to be Complete in Late Summer 

 

Denver – The Colorado Division of Insurance (DOI) released preliminary information today from

plans submitted by health insurers for Affordable Care Act (ACA) coverage in 2015. Rate and

benefit information for the 2015 plan year was submitted to DOI on June 6. Since that time, DOI

staff has been conducting initial reviews to check the filings for completeness, and to ensure

that any confidential or proprietary information has been properly marked.

 

While the filings are now public on DOI’s Online Search Engine for Rate Filings, the Division

emphasizes that the information in the submissions is preliminary and has not been subject to a

thorough review or actuarial analysis. The rate review process is a key step in consumer

protection, as the Division analyzes the plans to make sure they include the benefits required by

the ACA. The review process also holds insurance companies accountable by asking them to

justify the premiums and benefit packages included in their plans.

 

Over 1,000 plans were submitted for review, including 895 medical plans and 176 dental

plans. Of the 895 medical plans, 312 are proposed to be offered through Connect for Health

Colorado, the state’s health insurance exchange, with the remainder to be sold off the

exchange. Individuals will be able to choose from 350 medical plans, while 545 are small group

plans. Although this represents an increase from last year in the number of plan filings

submitted to the Division for the upcoming year, the rise may be due in part to technical

differences in the filing process. Last year, carriers could offer a single plan that varied in

premium based on the type of network that was utilized. In 2015, this variation is no longer

allowed, so carriers were required to file a separate plan for each network type.

 

Again, the total number of 2015 plans available is preliminary and could change when final

approval is completed in late summer. All of the insurance companies that offered medical

plans in 2014 have submitted plans for review for 2015, with two new medical carriers joining

the mix.

 

“We are pleased to see such a high number of carriers and plans,” said Commissioner of

Insurance Marguerite Salazar. “Rates seem to be holding relatively steady, which means we

will continue to see a strong market in 2015 that will provide Colorado consumers with many

options for health insurance.”

 

An initial examination of the filings shows that most of the premiums fall between approximately

a 10% decrease and a 10% increase over last year. “The spread is due in part to such items as

provider networks, medical inflation, experience and different plan designs,” said Tom Abel,

head of DOI’s Rates and Forms section for life, accident and health insurance. “Still, this

information is very preliminary. My team will spend the next couple of months digging into these

filings before we have the final picture.”

 

Over the summer, DOI staff will examine each plan to make sure it is in compliance with the

requirements of the ACA and state and federal laws. DOI will review the rates to ensure they

are not excessive or inadequate. Each carrier’s past experience and future projections will be

examined to determine whether the proposed rates are justified. DOI will also verify whether

the plans meet the federally defined metal tier coverage levels: bronze (60% of medical

expenses paid by the plan), silver (70%), gold (80%) and platinum (90%). These percentages

are referred to as “actuarial value.”

 

During this review period, Colorado consumers can submit public comments on the filings,

which will be reviewed and considered by the Division. When viewing the filings online, there will

be a section for comments within each filing. Consumers would need to click on the ““Add” link

in the “Comments” column of the filing of interest, and will be prompted to enter their name, city

and state of residence, email address, and the comment.

 

DOI will complete its review in September, then notify carriers and Connect for Health Colorado

of the approved plans for 2015. Once approved, final plans will be posted on DOI’s website.

DOI will also provide summary information and charts detailing the number of approved carriers

and plans for 2015, both on and off Connect for Health Colorado.

 

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The Colorado Division of Insurance regulates the insurance industry and assists consumers and

other stakeholders with insurance issues.

 

DORA is dedicated to preserving the integrity of the marketplace and is committed to promoting

a fair and competitive business environment in Colorado.

 

 

 

 

 

 Instructions for Reviewing the 2015 Colorado Health Insurance Filings 

 

Find the 2015 health insurance rate filings at www.dora.colorado.gov/healthinsurance.

 

  • · In the “Health Insurance Quick Links” box, click on “Health Insurance Plans & Rates.” This takes you

to the “DOI’s Online Search Engine for Rate Filings” page. Click on the “Search Health Insurance

Filings” link (at the top of the page). This will take you to the “Search Health Insurance Filings” page.

Please read the “SEARCH INSTRUCTIONS” listed at the bottom of this page before clicking on the

“Click here to Search Health Insurance Filings” link, which will take you to the actual search engine.

  • · Some key tips that will help you search the filings:

o You do not have to enter information into every field. Search by a single field, such as

company name, or use multiple fields to help narrow the results.

o If you do not have all of the information for a field (i.e., you do not know the company’s

registered business name, or the full name of the product you want to look up), you can use

an asterisk to broaden your search. For example, use *United* if you are unsure of whether to

use “United Healthcare” or “UnitedHealthcare.”

o Remember to look for plans for 2015. For 2014 plans, you can find summary information in

the “DOI’s Online Search Engine for Rate Filings” page, under “Summaries and Sample

Premium Charts for 2014 Plans.”

 

Once you have located the filing of interest to you, click on the “View Filing” link. This will take you to a pdf

version of the complete rate filing. Within this document, you fill find several sections that may be of

particular interest, including the following.

  • · Filing at a Glance/General Information Sections – These initial sections of the filing provide basic

information about the company and the overall rate impact of the filing (i.e., a positive number

indicates a requested rate increase, while a negative number indicates a requested rate decrease).

  • · Rate Information/Rate Review Detail Sections – These sections provide more in-depth information

regarding the requested rate action (i.e., if the carrier is requesting an increase or decrease, the

overall percentage change that is being requested, and the maximum and minimum change a

consumer would see, should the filing is approved).

  • · Rate-Rule Schedule Summary – The section contains the tables and formulas needed to calculate

the rates on an individual basis (depending on the person’s age, where they live, etc.).

  • · Supporting Documentation Schedule Summary – This section contains the bulk of the actuarial

support for the requested rate action, including the carrier’s past experience and future projections.

Key documents include the “Actuarial Memo” and “Supporting Exhibits.”

 

During this review period, Colorado consumers can submit public comments on the filings, to be considered

by the Division. When viewing the filings online, there will be a section for comments within each filing. Clink

on the ““Add” link in the “Comments” column of the filing of interest, and you will be prompted to enter name,

city and state of residence, email address, and your comment.

 

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Dumb Friends League Harmony Equine Center Open House

Dumb Friends League Harmony Equine Center Open House

The ‘mane’ event of the summer returns on May 17

 

FRANKTOWN, Colo. (May 13, 2014) Horse lovers of all ages are invited to kick off the summer at the Dumb Friends League Harmony Equine Center on Saturday, May 17, during its third annual open house and adoption day.

 

Taking place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Harmony Equine Center, located at 5540 E. Highway 86, just west of Franktown, visitors can enjoy guided tours of the facility, refreshments from local food truck vendors and activities for kids, as well as meet horses available for adoption. No RSVP is required and all ages are welcome.

 

In addition, professional horse trainer Brent Winston will offer trainings and demonstrations throughout the day, including how to trailer-load a horse, and how the Harmony Equine Center trains formerly abused and neglected horses so they are ready for adoption.

 

“We want the public to come and see what we are doing, not only to help the horses in our care, but to spread the word that there is a real need for a facility like this in Colorado,” said Garret Leonard, director of the Harmony Equine Center. “We also want to share our training knowledge with the public to help improve the lives of all horses.”

 

Guests can also learn about volunteer opportunities, training events and youth camps taking place throughout the summer at the Harmony Equine Center.

 

“We’re proud to be part of such a horse-friendly community,” said Leonard. “Our goal is to be not only a safe haven for abused and neglected equines, but also to serve as an educational resource for horse owners and potential adopters.”

 

The Harmony Equine Center is a private rehabilitation and adoption facility for horses, ponies, donkeys and mules that have been removed from owners’ care by law enforcement authorities. It is not a sanctuary or a rescue facility, and the center does not accept owner-relinquished horses. Adoption days are every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. or by appointment.

 

To learn more about the Dumb Friends League Harmony Equine Center or to see horses available for adoption, visit ddfl.org/equine or call (303) 751-5772.

 

About the Dumb Friends League

Founded in 1910, the Dumb Friends League is the largest community-based animal welfare organization in the Rocky Mountain region, helping pets and people in the Denver metro area and beyond. In 2012, the League expanded the scope of its services to include providing shelter, care and hope for abused and neglected equines in Colorado. The Dumb Friends League has shelters at 2080 S. Quebec St. in Denver and the Buddy Center at 4556 Castleton Court in Castle Rock, as well as the Dumb Friends League Harmony Equine Center™ near Franktown. For more information, visit ddfl.org or call (303) 751-5772.

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Thursday May 1st, 2014 Podcast

HaystackRadio 05-01-14

Yana Long of Group Insurance Analysts joined us to talk about home and auto insurance as well as describe the difference between a broker and an agent.

 

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Division of Insurance to Allow Continuation of Non-ACA- Compliant Health Plans through 2015

 

 

 

May 2, 2014             FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:  Vincent Plymell, Communications Manager,

Colorado Division of Insurance, 303.894.2261, vincent.plymell@state.co.us

 

Division of Insurance to Allow Continuation of Non-ACA- Compliant Health Plans through 2015


Denver – The Colorado Division of Insurance (DOI) announced today that it will allow insurance carriers to continue through 2015 health insurance plans for individuals and small groups that do not comply with new insurance rules that started in January 2014.  This decision is based upon President Barack Obama’s announcement in March to allow such plans to continue.

 

“Allowing insurance companies to continue these plans for another year gives people more options and more time to navigate the transition to the Affordable Care Act (ACA),” said Marguerite Salazar, Commissioner of Insurance.  “This added time will help them determine the best course of action for themselves and their families.”

 

Insurance carriers will not be required to continue their non-ACA-compliant plans and will need to make their own business decisions in this regard.  When making a coverage decision, the DOI encourages consumers to take the time to consider their health insurance options carefully.  Consumers should compare premiums, out of pocket costs, consumer protections, and eligibility for tax credits only available through Connect for Health Colorado.

 

This decision means that consumers who renewed individual or small group plans in 2013 may be able to renew these plans in 2014 for continuation into 2015, should their insurance company decide to continue plans.  Renewals can be completed through Dec. 31, 2014, with an expiration date for plans of no later than Dec. 31, 2015.  However, carriers will not be allowed to reinstate plans previously discontinued in 2013, nor does this decision allow for the sale of new plans not compliant with state and federal law.

 

New legislation is not needed to allow this extension.  House Bill 13-1266, concerning the alignment of state health insurance laws with the requirements of the federal “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” became known as the Alignment Bill.

 

The purpose of the Alignment Bill was to align Colorado’s health insurance laws with the Affordable Care Act and to give the DOI the authority to regulate insurers in alignment with federal requirements and guidance.  The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued guidance stating that certain plans could be continued that would otherwise be discontinued because they did not meet the requirements of the ACA.   In aligning the DOI’s policy with this guidance from CMS, this decision by the DOI provides more time for consumers to transition into the new health care marketplace.

 

Consumers with questions about insurance can contact the Division of Insurance at 303-894-7490 or 1-800-930-3745 (outside the Denver area).  The Division has trained experts ready to answer consumers’ health insurance questions.

 

                                                       

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The Colorado Division of Insurance regulates the insurance industry and assists consumers and other stakeholders with insurance issues.

 

DORA is dedicated to preserving the integrity of the marketplace and is committed to promoting a fair and competitive business environment in Colorado.

 

Consumer protection is our mission.

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Division of Insurance Offers Potential New Options for Geographic Rating Areas for 2015

 

 

 

May 2, 2014             FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:  Vincent Plymell, Communications Manager,

Colorado Division of Insurance, 303.894.2261, vincent.plymell@state.co.us


 

Division of Insurance Offers Potential New Options for Geographic Rating Areas for 2015

 


Denver – At a meeting of the Colorado Healthcare Cost Study Group today, Insurance Commissioner Marguerite Salazar offered new options for geographic rating areas for health insurance for 2015.  Geographic rating areas are geographical units made up of metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs), counties or three-digit zip codes, which are used by insurance carriers to price premiums.   The options include the current geographic rating plan and two others that would also promote stability and minimize variability in premium costs.

 

The new options emerged from an actuarial analysis performed for the group by Miller & Newberg Consulting Actuaries.

 

Earlier this year, Gov. John Hickenlooper asked Commissioner Salazar to convene the Healthcare Cost Study Group to learn more about the cost of healthcare and health insurance across the state.

 

“Variations in health insurance premiums across regions arise due to variations in the cost of healthcare across regions,” said Commissioner Salazar.  “These variations are not new, but the transparency brought by the Affordable Care Act is new.”

 

In addition to reviewing what drives health costs in each region, Miller & Newberg analyzed five options for the rating areas, including the current breakdown of 11 areas, also known as 7 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) + 2 non-MSAs.  An MSA is a geographical region with a relatively high population center and close economic ties throughout the area.  Of these five options, Miller & Newberg identified three that would minimize uncertainty and promote stability in the cost of health insurance premiums.

  • 7MSAs + 4 non-MSAs – The current 11 rating areas.  The four non-MSAs are Southeast, Northeast, West and Resort, and incorporate the counties in those regions of the state.
  • 7 MSAs + 2 non-MSAs – This would combine the existing four non-MSAs into two, East and West.
  • 7 MSAs + 1 non-MSA – This would combine the existing four non-MSAs into a single non-MSA geographic area.

The DOI’s suggested option is 7 MSAs + 2 non-MSAs, which would combine the Western Slope regions of West and Resort into one region, and the Eastern Plains regions Southeast and Northeast into another region.

 

“Combining those four counties into two larger groups spreads the cost risks more broadly,” said Commissioner Salazar.  “We believe this option would lead to the fairest distribution of costs across these regions.”  She asked the study group to provide feedback on the three options no later than May 7, to allow insurance carriers to incorporate any changes into their plans and rates for 2015. Carriers must submit their 2015 plans and rates to the DOI later this spring.

 

The DOI enlisted a diverse group of stakeholders to participate in the Healthcare Cost Study Group, including representatives of hospitals, healthcare providers, consumer groups, insurance carriers and representatives from the mountain communities.
Consumers with questions about insurance can contact the Division of Insurance at 303-894-7490 or 1-800-930-3745 (outside the Denver metro area).  The Division has trained experts ready to answer consumers’ health insurance questions.

###

The Colorado Division of Insurance regulates the insurance industry and assists consumers and other stakeholders with insurance issues.

 

DORA is dedicated to preserving the integrity of the marketplace and is committed to promoting a fair and competitive business environment in Colorado.

 

Consumer protection is our mission.

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