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Colorado Capitol Report

New 2021 Health Plan Rates Demonstrate Cost-Shifting of Reinsurance Plan


New 2021 Health Plan Rates Demonstrate Cost-Shifting of Reinsurance Plan

Gov. Jared Polis and the Division of Insurance (DOI) this week announced the insurance rates for the 2021 plan year, claiming significant savings and a 1.4% rate decrease for consumers of individual plans as a result of the state’s reinsurance program. Not mentioned in the announcement, however, is the impact the reinsurance program had on the vast majority of consumers that are on employer-sponsored health plans.

According to DOI’s most recent health insurance report, Coloradans on small or large group market plans constitute approximately 81% of the health insurance market, while 19% of Coloradans are on individual plans. While those on individual plans will see an average 1.4% rate decrease, that comes at the expense of rate increases on both small and large group plans. Small group plans will likely see an average increase in premiums of 3.8% while large group plans are expected to see an increase of at least 2.1%, the Colorado Chamber’s Loren Furman told the Denver Business Journal.

The state’s reinsurance plan, which passed the legislature in 2019 after failed attempts in previous years, increases several fees and premiums in the health care industry so the state can cover larger insurance claims. The goal of the program was to lower prices for consumers since those higher cost claims wouldn’t be distributed across all health plans. The Colorado Chamber, however, raised concerns to the legislature that rather than lowering costs for every consumer, it would simply shift costs from individual plans to employer-sponsored group plans.

“One of the concerns we’ve always raised as the Colorado Chamber of Commerce was, for those workers employed by those businesses that provide health insurance, what would that cost look like [when you factor in reinsurance],” said Loren Furman to the Denver Business Journal.

In response to DOI’s announcement on 2021 health plan rates, the Colorado Association of Health Plans noted that the reinsurance program shifts the financial burden to those purchasing coverage through employer-based plans due to the increase in premium assessments.

“[W]e are disappointed by the average 3.8% increase in premium costs for the small group market which are in part due to a new health insurance tax passed during the legislative session and will be borne by employers who provide health insurance to their employees,” said Amanda Massey, Executive Director of the Colorado Association of Health Plans.

Read the full article from the Denver Business Journal here.

Read the press release from the Colorado Association of Health Plans here.


Another Rockstar to Join the Colorado Chamber of Commerce Lobbying Team!

We are thrilled to announce a new member of the Colorado Chamber of Commerce state lobbying team!  Katie Wolf Perkins joins the Colorado Chamber beginning November 2020 as the Director of State Governmental Affairs, and brings over a decade of government affairs and lobbying experience.  Over the years, Katie has established herself as a well-respected, bi-partisan lobbyist and has earned the admiration of her colleagues and Colorado’s legislators as an honest broker and incredibly hard worker.  She will be joining the lobbying team to work on legislative and regulatory issues on behalf of the Chamber’s diverse membership.

Prior to joining the State Chamber, Katie was founder and CEO of Wolf Public Affairs, a successful contract lobbying firm serving clients in healthcare, business, criminal justice. Katie began her career in politics as a Legislative Aide, staffer to the Majority Caucus in 2006 and eventual full-time lobbyist and Senior Associate with Michael Best Strategies and Mendez Consulting.  Katie also worked for Senator Michael Bennet’s successful 2010 statewide Senate campaign and Colorado’s 2008 Obama for President Campaign. She has managed campaign strategy and fundraising for campaigns on both the state and federal level, branded and re-branded clients at the Colorado State Capitol, advised on long-term political and legislative strategy, and developed political giving entities and plans.

In her free time, Katie enjoys camping, karaoke, and watching Broncos football.  She also serves on the Board of Directors as the Treasurer for the BlueFlower Fund (Dec.  2012-Present), and serves on the Board of Directors for Strive Prep Professionals (August 2018 – Present).  She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science from the University of Colorado at Boulder.


Opportunity to Serve on New Air Quality Enterprise Board

The Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE) is seeking applicants to serve on the Air Quality Enterprise Board which will be housed within CDPHE. This opportunity is open to Colorado Chamber members who are interested in serving and who meet the qualifications outlined below.

Background: The new Air Quality Enterprise Board was created through the passage of legislation adopted during the 2020 Legislative Session (Senate Bill 20-204 – Additional Resources to Protect Air Quality

https://leg.colorado.gov/sites/default/files/2020a_204_signed.pdf).

Powers & Duties of the Enterprise:

  • to conduct science-based, unbiased air quality modeling, monitoring, assessment, data analysis, and research;
  • to establish and collect fees;
  • to allocate enterprise revenues and contract for services;
  • to issue revenue bonds;
  • to receive fees and other payments for services provided;
  • to engage the services of contractors, consultants, and legal counsel, for professional and technical assistance, advice, and other goods and without regard to the state procurement code; and
  • to promote the development of unbiased, high quality, science and not advocate for or develop air quality policy.

Board member criteria:

  • The executive director or the executive director’s designee;
  • Two members of the Commission appointed by the Governor:
  • Two Governor appointees to serve as representatives of fee payers with expertise in field engineering or environmental management;
  • One Governor appointee with significant private sector experience in the field of business management; and
  • Four Governor appointees who are highly qualified and professionally active or engaged in the conduct of scientific research, including at least two who are experts in atmospheric or air quality modeling, monitoring, assessment, and research and one member who is a toxicologist, epidemiologist, pathologist, pulmonologist, cardiologist, or expert in a similar field related to the public health or environmental effects of air pollutants.
  • To the extent practicable, at least two of the Governor appointees must be individuals who have a record of peer-reviewed publications and who are affiliated with, currently hold, or have held academic or equivalent appointments at universities, federal laboratories, or other research institutions.

Colorado Chamber of Commerce members interested in serving on this Board should contact Loren Furman at lfurman@cochamber.com and she will share names of candidates with the Department staff. Board members will be appointed by the end of the year, with the first meeting to be held in January.

To sign up for the distribution list and more information on the Air Enterprise Board go to:

https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/air-quality-enterprise