Division of Insurance moves to protect Colorado consumers
By Vincent Plymell
Special to The SUN
Last week, the Colorado Division of Insurance (DOI), part of the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA), took action against the Colorado Health Insurance Cooperative, more commonly known as the Colorado HealthOP, preventing it from selling insurance for 2016 on the state’s health exchange, Connect for Health Colorado.
Colorado consumers will not be able to buy new HealthOP coverage or renew existing plans for 2016, for individuals or small groups, on Connect for Health Colorado. This move comes in time to ensure that HealthOP members can enroll in new plans during the upcoming open enrollment without a disruption in coverage.
The DOI took this action as the financial viability of the HealthOP came into question after learning it would receive considerably less money than expected from a federal, risk-based reimbursement program know as “risk corridor.” Earlier this month, the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare (CMS), announced it would only reimburse the nation’s health insurers 12.6 percent of what they were entitled under the program — only $362 million out of $2.9 billion promised. Colorado HealthOP was expecting around $16.2 million this year from the risk corridor payments, but instead will only receive about $2 million.
Because of the shortfall in funds, the HealthOP does not meet the state’s minimum capital and surplus requirements. The state requires insurance companies to maintain a certain level of capital and surplus to act as a rainy day fund should the company have a number of very sick people with very high-cost claims.