As nearly $200 million in federal subsidies to Colorado’s Obamacare Exchange are scheduled to sunset next year, the shortfall created by this change will be shouldered by the participants of Colorado’s government-run plan, making their annual health insurance costs even more expensive. And to be clear, this increase has nothing to do with the increase in insurance premiums that will occur next year. Colorado will get those numbers at the end of May.
Last week, the Board of Connect for Health Colorado lowered the boom, and more than doubled the fee assessed to people buying plans through the exchange, from 1.4% to 3.5% of a participant’s annual premium. That fee will help Colorado’s Obamacare exchange to support its operations. In the short time that Colorado’s exchange has been in operation, the estimated annual costs to run Connect for Health Colorado have exploded from $26 million to $54 million. Sound familiar?
The exchange is also increasing an assessment applied to private health insurance plans in the state by increasing the monthly fee to every person who has private health insurance in Colorado, from $1.25 per month to $1.80 per month, beginning next year.
In addition to hitting middle class Coloradans squarely in the wallet, these changes also will drive away the marginal purchaser and some young healthy people who cannot or will not afford to pay for insurance. But this is just one of several headwinds for the state’s ill-planned Obamacare delivery mechanism. In just the past month, Connect for Health Colorado experienced the loss of its Chief Technology Officer and the withdrawal of the person named as finalist for the CEO position.
Hopefully the Obamacare tire fire will not affect the delivery of healthcare to Colorado families, but we somehow cannot believe that will be the case.