Insurance division grant allows closer eye on insurance cos.

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The Colorado Division of Insurance will be keeping a closer eye on insurance companies and their ever-increasing proposals to raise premium levels.

The division will use a $4 million, three-year federal grant to more accurately and efficiently review the rate increase proposals. Last year, insurance carriers in Colorado increased their rates on average of 9 percent.

The grant is part of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, and will allow the division to hold insurance companies more accountable for unjustified premium increases. It also will be used to update the division’s computer system to allow real-time news about rate increases.

Colorado’s already used the first round of grants issued last year to launch a consumer friendly web site to educate the public about why insurance companies hike their premiums. That information is available at askdora.colorado.gov.

The site includes consumer friendly rate summaries and will soon allow people to sign up for an email notice whenever their carrier requests an increase in premiums.