DOI approves 541 new insurance plans under ACA

The Colorado Division of Insurance approved 541 new health insurance plans from 18 carriers that will offer insurance to consumers and businesses starting Jan. 1, 2014.

The new health plans must offer, under federal law, a set of essential benefits and a variety of choices.

The division started reviewing the plans in May to make sure they met state and federal requirements for benefits, coverage and premiums, as outlined in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare.

For each health plan and carrier, DOI actuaries made sure the plans met defined coverage levels of costs paid by the plan. Bronze plans cover 60 percent of the cost; silver plans cover 70 percent; and platinum plans cover 90 percent.

“Consumers will be able to make better decisions and be better prepared,” said Colorado Interim Insurance Commissioner Doug Dean. “While it is tempting to compare the costs for new plans to current one, it is important to remember that these are new plans with new benefits and new requirements, so it is not an ‘apples to apples’ to comparison. We encourage every purchaser to shop around.”

Monthly premiums for the approved plans vary widely. A bronze plan could cost an individual about $150 to $250 a month, depending on geographic location. Consumers looking for lower copays or deductibles could choose gold or platinum plans which would have higher premiums.

The costs do not yet reflect offsets by federal tax credits or other financial assistance if businesses purchase through the state’s health insurance exchange, Connect for Health Colorado.