obamacareFolks on the Western Slope better get a tighter grip on their wallets, because their high-priced affordable health insurance rates are about to skyrocket to unprecedented heights.

Katie Kerwin McCrimmon of Health News Colorado reports that the double-digit increases could reach as high as 50 percent for some plans.

The proposed hikes on some specific plans include:

  • 34.4 percent for Rocky Mountain Health Plans
  • 26.6 percent for Colorado Access
  • 21.6 percent for the Colorado HealthOP
  • 20.9 percent for Humana
  • 12.7 percent for Denver Health

The hardship will be even greater on ski resort residents, who are already paying the highest health insurance in the country.

In letters to regulators, the consumer analysts said they were especially concerned about the western region, where a new geographic rating system was supposed to drive rates down by 17 percent. Instead, Rocky Mountain is proposing significant increases in the area with specific hikes ranging from 32 to 49 percent.

The penalty for refusing to purchase insurance will also increase.

The Colorado Division of Insurance is reviewing the rate increases that will be finalized by September.

Timing is everything. This reminds us of the fiasco that trapped former U.S. Sen. Mark Udall in the autumn just as his reelection efforts were kicking into high gear.

Udall’s office bullied the insurance division to keep secret the number of Coloradans who saw their entire health insurance plan cancelled. The effort backfired and marked the beginning of Udall’s downfall.

This too will come back to haunt U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, a strong supporter of Obamacare who insisted we could keep our doctors. What he failed to mention, is that we could no longer afford to pay for one.