Health insurance premiums to go up in 2019

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO/KJCT)-- Notices are going out that show what health insurance premiums will look like in 2019.

One local resident reached out to KKCO 11 News, concerned after getting a notice that he'll be facing a more than 30 percent increase for premiums. Turns out, he's not the only one.

"Well, yeah, I was shocked, this year it went up. From 2018 to 2019 it went up 33 percent,” said a Humana Health Insurance Customer.

He uses Humana's Prescription Plan as a supplement to his Medicare.
"I mean, that's a 33 percent increase and for one person it doesn't seem like that much, but when you talk about everybody on Medicare that's a huge increase,” said the customer.

His plan has gone from $17 in 2017 to $20.40 in 2018. Now in 2019 it will go up to $30.40.

"There was a lot of chaos at the federal that certainly contributed to increases more than they probably would have been,” said Vincent Plymell, with the Colorado Department of Insurance.

The Colorado Division of Insurance released individual and small business health insurance plans and premiums for 2019. These are the Affordable Care Act plans, covering all companies, plans, locations, and ages.

Overall premiums for individual plans are increasing by 5.6 percent.

Customers are still paying more, but the hikes are getting smaller overall.

"We think it’s actually down to things finally getting a little bit stable as the insurance companies have figured out, how to price things those first few years of the ACA plan, you know, as I think the insurance companies were trying to find their footing and price this new market,” said Plymell.

The average premium increase in small group business plans will be up 7.27 percent for 2019.

"Extremely important this year, even more so for people to really shop and see what plans fit their health and financial needs there really are some savings out there,” said Plymell.

Humana was approved by the division of insurance for a higher premium for small business insurance. Their rate will change by more than 14 percent. While the average is about 9 percent.

As for Medicare customers, we reached out to Humana and they said in a statement “Every year Humana looks at the benefits and premiums of each plan in order to offer plans and coverage that bring the most value to our members. While we understand a low monthly premium is important, we have also heard from our members that it’s equally as important to keep deductibles low while covering a large selection of medications. While some Prescription Drug Plan (PDP) premiums are increasing in Colorado, these plans are designed to still provide quality and value to our members.”

They continue: "In addition to PDP plans, Humana offers Medicare Advantage plans that combine medical and prescription drug coverage with low or $0 plan premiums. In Grand Junction, Humana is offering a $0 premium Medicare Advantage PPO plan that combines medical and prescription drug coverage. The Medicare Advantage PPO plan includes $0 deductible on Tiers 1 and 2 medications, as well as $0 copay for primary care provider visits. The Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plan Annual Election Period starts Oct. 15 and ends Dec. 7. We encourage all people with Medicare to research 2019 plan options that best meet their health and financial needs."

In Colorado, open enrollment for Connect for Health Colorado starts November 1.

The Colorado Division of Insurance says about 9 percent of Coloradans buy their health insurance through the Affordable Care Act.



 
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