More premium money spent on care, report says

More than 80 percent of health insurance premiums collected by Colorado carriers went directly to the cost of providing health care, up from just under 77 percent in 2009.

The report, issued by the Colorado Division of Insurance, is for calendar year 2010, and is an annual report that looks at the factors that drive the cost of health care, the financial status of health carriers and increases in health insurance premiums.

“This report shows that in 2010, health insurance premiums continued to grow at a pace faster than inflation or wages,” said Commissioner of Insurance Jim Riesberg. “However, the report also shows that the burden of higher premiums did not fall as heavily on employees as it has in years past.”

Other issues in the report:

• In 2010, Colorado health insurance carriers spent 81 percent of premiums on medical expenses; another 17 percent went to administrative expenses and commissions, and just less than 2 percent went to company profits. In 2009, slightly less than 77 percent of premiums went to medical expenses, 10 percent was spent on administrative expenses, while 4 percent went to commissions, and about 8 percent went to profits.

• In 2010, about 59 percent of Coloradans were covered by health insurance obtained through their employers, higher than the national average of 55 percent. The percentage of private employers that provide health plans and self-insure at least one of those plans increased from 26 percent in 1998 to 36 percent in 2010. However, from 2009 to 2010 the number of Coloradans covered by employment-based insurance dropped from 61 percent to 58 percent.

• Colorado consumers spent $7 billion on health insurance premiums in 2010, a 12 percent increase from the nearly $6 billion spent on premiums in 2009. The number of insured Coloradans increased from 4.1 million in 2009 to 4.3 million in 2010,

Click here to download or read the report.