Health insurance costs going up as open enrollment begins soon

DENVER -- Open enrollment for health insurance under Colorado’s Health Exchange begins Nov. 1, and this year you'll need to consider some changes in how much you can  expect to pay.

Like most of the nation, Colorado is expected to see a 22 percent increase in premiums in 2017.

Kevin Patterson, CEO of Connect For Health Colorado, said planning early is the key to getting the best plan.

“Talk about it with your family. If there's a certain doctor for you we can help you work that out," he said.

The Affordable Care Act is responsible for allowing 20 million more Americans to benefit from health insurance coverage without worrying about pre-existing conditions.

Many will be eligible to receive a subsidy.

“There's a probability that they could be eligible for a tax credit which will actually take that more than 20 percent premium down to a net decrease of 11 percent, so there's a chance that people could actually be paying less.  For example, if you  make about $47,000 a year, you may be able pay $40 less than you are now," Patterson said.

The Connect For Health Colorado website features  a cost calculator that can quickly tell you if  you qualify for the subsidy.

Administrators are reaching out to millennials, many of whom aren’t buying into the system and choosing to pay a penalty instead.

“They fall skiing and run into this problem. Then they've got these large increases in terms of a bill from their medical provider,” Patterson said.

If you receive health insurance through your employer, expect changes there as well.

The Colorado Division of Insurance said in 2017, businesses with fewer than 100 employees will likely see an insurance cost increase of 2.1 percent. At-large companies premiums, deductibles and co-pays are expected to increase as well.

Regardless of where you get your health insurance,  Patterson said waiting to see how the presidential election will affect health care coverage is a big mistake.

“Whatever happens  because of a number of things on the ballot, you'll need insurance before anything changes," Patterson said.