DOI to investigate health care costs

The Colorado Division of Insurance (DOI) announced it will launch a study of health care costs across the state, focusing on the inconsistencies of premiums based on geographic location.

“We are pleased so many more people are gaining access to health insurance under the ACA,” Marguerite Salazar, insurance commissioner said in a statement. “However, we heard from many people who were surprised by the differences in premiums in different areas of the state. A review of healthcare costs and their drivers is an important and logical next step to gaining a greater understanding of this issue.”

Geographic location, along with age, tobacco use and individual versus family enrollment are the four factors health insurance companies can use to set plan premiums under the Affordable Care Act. Colorado currently has 11 geographic rating areas for individuals and small group health insurance, which will stay the same through 2015 as per a decision by DOI not to make area changes.

According to a release, the primary aim of DOI’s health costs study will be the collection of data, while looking for variation in costs from region to region and why they occur. For this study, the DOI will gather a diverse group of stakeholders including representatives of hospitals, health care providers, insurance carriers and the pharmaceutical industry.

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