DENVER (CBS4) – The White House admitted Monday that Obamacare premiums are going up by an average of 25 percent across much of the country. In some areas of Colorado, the spike is much worse.
Some Coloradans could see 40 percent increases, and that means citizens will have to decide whether to have insurance or go without it.
“It could be a tough open enrollment when people wake up to these prices and are seeing them for the first time,” said Joe Hanel, who analyzes health care policy for the Colorado Health Institute.
The areas that will have the highest increases will be in western, southern and particularly eastern Colorado.
“The cost of care is just higher there,” Hanel said. “If you’re in Denver you could be looking at price increases of 15 to 20 percent.”
Hanel said there are several reasons for the increase:
– More expensive cost of health care
– Political factors
– Insurance carriers are leaving Colorado, leading to fewer plans.
“There are some counties where there’s only one carrier left. So you can’t do a whole lot of comparison shopping anymore,” Hanel said.
“The danger with these price increases is that people are just going to say ‘You know what, I can’t afford it.'”
Open enrollment begins next week, and it’s estimated 92,000 people in Colorado will need a new insurance plan for 2017. The choice for many will come down to spending thousands of dollars per month for health insurance or simply paying a $700 tax penalty for the year.
“We’re worried that the uninsured rate might head up and certainly hope that doesn’t happen,” Hanel said.
There are tax incentives for Coloradans who have lower income and use Colorado’s health exchange. State officials said they are hoping to spread more awareness about that soon.
A representative with Connect for Health Colorado suggested people use their website and get in touch with a broker if they need a new plan for next year.
A broker will be able to help walk people through what they say is the most affordable plan.