Thousands of Coloradoans projected to lose health insurance

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More than 120,000 people in Colorado will lose their health insurance by Dec. 2010, and the number of people nationwide without insurance is expected to climb by 6.9 million.

That’s according to Families USA, which estimated the number of people who have lost – or will lose – health insurance coverage from Jan. 2008 to Dec. 2010.

The nonprofit organization cites rising premiums as the main reason, despite the economic downturn.

Premiums are up 119 percent from 1999 to 2008, the organization said. The Consumer Price Index shows inflation only rose 29.9 percent.

The report is the first-ever state-by-state projection of the number of people who will lose coverage. The report says 780 people in the state will lose their coverage every week; 3,370 will lose coverage every month and 40,470 will lose their coverage every year.

“Employers that do continue to offer health coverage are being forced to pass on the rising costs to their employees by imposing higher premiums or co-payments or by offering plans that cover fewer benefits,” said Ron Pollack, Families USA executive director.

“Other employers are choosing not to offer coverage at all because it is simply too expensive. Between 2000 and 2008, the share of firms offering health coverage declined by 6 percentage points, with small businesses being the most likely to drop coverage.”