Colorado’s Obamacare insurers will raise rates for 2019 by an average 5.6 percent, a state official announced Thursday, but customers that get financial help are set to see a decrease of 24 percent.
A state official said that he believed that the rate levels, as well as the fact that insurers are staying in the law’s insurance exchanges, are signs that the exchanges are stabilizing. All of the seven Obamacare insurers who offered plans this year will also offer plans in 2019.
“I am happy that so many of our customers will be seeing premium decreases,” said Kevin Patterson, CEO of Connect for Health Colorado, the law’s insurance exchange.
Last year’s open enrollment for the 2018 coverage year signed up 165,777 people, according to the Denver Post.
More than 100,000 people qualified for financial help, Connect for Health Colorado said.
Those who qualify for tax credits will have an average decrease in rate costs of 24 percent next year after applying the credit, the exchange added.
Health and Human Services has said that, overall, the premium for the average Obamacare benchmark plan will decrease by 2 percent for 2019. The average benchmark plan is the second-cheapest plan on Obamacare’s silver-medal tier.
Some states have decided to adopt reinsurance programs to help lower premiums. Through reinsurance, states cover the highest claims from Obamacare insurers, and the insurers lower premiums overall.
But critics of the Trump administration say that the administration has raised premiums through several different actions. For instance, Obamacare allies, such as the group Protect Our Care, said the repeal of the individual mandate penalty in 2019 and the expansion of the duration of short term plans, which compete with Obamacare by offering cheaper plans with fewer benefits, could destabilize the exchanges.
An analysis from the Brookings Institution estimated that premiums overall would go down by 4 percent if the mandate penalty was left intact and the short-term plans weren’t expanded.