In the wake of the contentious health care reform legislative battle waged in the media and on the political stump most of last year and this year, health insurance premiums are rising in Colorado. State Insurance Commissioner Marcy Morrison has been fielding phone calls from angry consumers and wants to be clear: Insurance companies are hiking rates just as they have been doing consistently for years and not because of “Obamacare.”
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As Washington again debated health reform last week, Coloradans enrolled in insurance giant WellPoint‘s Anthem individual group plan reeled from a 19.9 percent rate hike. Indianapolis-based WellPoint levied the double-digit increase here quietly in January, without a sound from Colorado lawmakers. A state insurance commissioner told the Independent he was unsurprised by the increase and “signed off” on it back in September.
When commercial pilot Matt Temme of Castle Rock was furloughed by his employer last June, he lost his health insurance. Temme’s wife had coverage through her employer, but adding Temme and his son would have cost $800 a month— an expensive proposition for a family who had just lost a portion of their income. So Temme went looking on the individual market for insurance. He’s a healthy 41-year-old. His son is a healthy 6-year-old.
“I never imagined I would have a problem,” he said.