Health Care Premiums On The Rise
Average Rates Going Up Nearly 13 Percent.
Rising health costs can be a big burden, and odds are you're premiums are going up this year. Yet one local woman says her insurance is going up by double digits.
Many factors go into the cost of insurance. The Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies works to review hikes in health rates. They say it depends on how much you use the plan and what type of insurance you have.
Yet for one woman, the skyrocketing cost is inexcusable.
"It's out of reach. it's unaffordable," she said.
This woman chooses not to be identified. But she does want to speak out about her health care coverage with Rocky Mountain Health Plans. Her rates have gone up to $310 a month, amounting to 22% higher than before.
KJCT asked RMHP why this woman is paying more for her care. They declined to answer.
"We can't take this anymore," she says about her family.
She not only flinched when she got the increase notice, but doesn't know how she's going to pay it.
"I called and asked them why this was happening, and they said other people in my plan have had more medical expenses, so I have to help pay for that."
She's also worried about paying for doctor's visits.
"I've refused additional follow up mammograms."
We contacted the Department of Regulatory Agencies, or DORA, to see if this is standard. The consumer protection organization says Rocky Mountain Health Plans isn't the only culprit of raising premiums. DORA recommends everyone be prepared for increases.
"A big part of premium rates is still the cost of health care delivery," DORA's Director of External Affairs, Jo Donlin said.
Donlin says cost is connected to things like how frequently you use your benefits, trends of medical cost and where you live. Consumers want to know, is that justified ?
"We look at these rate filings very carefully, the rates that we've approved, have been appropriately justified," Donlin said.
DORA's research finds this rate increase is higher than others. The average increase is 12.9% in 2011. Only up to five percent of that raise is part of the new health care bill. Marcy Morrison with DORA says, "What may be eye-opening for some people is that federal health reforms have contributed from zero to a maximum of five percent of those increases. It?s not the primary cause for increasing rates.?
As far as how Colorado compares to other states, we're right in the middle. People here are paying more than 25 other states.
DORA recommends shopping around for health care. But the organization warns that the cheapest might not necessarily be the best.
They've hired someone that is focusing just on complaints for consumer rates. If you think you are paying too much, and it doesn't make sense, you can file a complaint with DORA. Their number is (303) 894-7490. Or you can file one online: http://www.dora.state.co.us/pls/real/Ins_Complaint.Submit_Form
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