Health Care, Original Report, Uncategorized

Broker warned of dramatically higher group insurance plan premiums

A new email disclosed by the state Division of Insurance (DOI) shows that a health care broker was concerned about the possibility for significant premium rises in group policies that would go into effect this year. However, the decision in late May by the DOI to allow the continued sale of plans that were not in full compliance with the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or ObamaCare) appears to have given the reprieve necessary to stop the potential premium increases, if only for at least a year.

Dorothy Marshall, with David A. Marshall & Associates, told three top officials at DOI, “This [continued sale of non-ACA compliant plans] could be very good news for groups who have not come in to ACA compliance yet. We have been dealing with group increases up to 65% for July ACA compliant plans.”

Marshall’s email to the DOI came just one business day after the DOI announced they would allow the continued sale of non-ACA compliant plans.

No one at David Marshall & Associates, including Dorothy Marshall, would comment for this story.

While numerous issues can factor into premium increases, and premium increases are not the only measuring stick for the “cost” of an insurance plan, Marshall’s phrase “for July ACA compliant plans,” seems to pin the majority of the responsibility of the premium increases on new requirements mandated by ObamaCare.

By allowing the non-ACA compliant plans to be sold for one more year, and avoiding more policy cancellations or double-digit premium increases, election-year Democrats like Senator Mark Udall sidestepped taking more political heat for ObamaCare. In a Denver Post article about the one year reprieve on non-ACA plans, political analyst Eric Sondermann said, “…by November, it [the decision to allow non-ACA compliant plans to be sold] will take the intensity of the cancellation issue from a 10 out of 10 to about an 8. For a Udall or a [Andrew] Romanoff, an 8 will seem pretty good. Elections are won or lost at the margins.”

A Forbes article in April surveyed 148 insurance brokers nationwide, and placed Colorado in the “top 10” for premium increases for group plans.

The email in this article was provided based on a Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) request made on May 15th that asked for all documents that would forecast the impact of allowing non-ACA compliant plans to be sold. While the DOI fulfilled the request in June, they also found a second batch of responsive documents and provided those to on Tuesday, Sept 16. The discovery of the second batch of responsive documents happened after your author announced to DOI his intention to sue over some emails which were withheld for the “deliberative process” privilege. Whether the two events are connected is unknown.

Both the Denver Post and have published articles highlighting the possibility that the DOI decision to allow non-ACA compliant plans to be sold was illegal.

DOI – ACA group plans by CompleteColorado

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