DENVER (KDVR) — Another area where costs are expected to increase now: health insurance.

Preliminary data from the Colorado Department of Insurance indicates some groups could see a significant spike in premium costs next year.

There’s a window of opportunity for these numbers to change. As of now, small businesses and people who get health insurance outside their employer’s health plan could see higher costs.

Health groups, like the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative, and small businesses and individuals are experiencing a bit of sticker shock when looking at the state’s preliminary report for individual market health premiums next year.

“When we saw the double digits, it’s a lot higher than the rate increases we’ve seen in the last couple of years, so it took an initial double check to say, ‘Am I looking at the right information for the small group and for the individual rate filings?'” said Mannat Singh, the executive director for the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative.

Per the department, seven insurance companies have proposed to offer 399 individual plans next year. Their findings from insurance company filings show an 11% average increase for individuals and about 9% for businesses with fewer than 100 employees.

Colorado Reinsurance Program lessened premium hike

Although the higher rates would will impact wallets, they could have been higher.

“The key thing noticed again were those double-digit increases, but we also saw the comparison of how much worse those increases would have been if it weren’t for the Colorado Reinsurance Program,” Singh said.

That program was implemented back in 2020 and reduces premiums automatically for people using individual insurance. So instead of an 11% increase next year, people on these plans could have been looking at a 34% increase next year.

Inflation, COVID-19 and workforce issues are among the causes the department will look into.

Colorado public health insurance option set for 2023

Coloradans in this market will have one new option in 2023. That is also when the state’s public health option is set to launch. It offers a lower-cost option than other insurance plans in the market.

“I wouldn’t tell an individual what plan to get for their own healthcare, but the Colorado option is there specifically for consumers to purchase reasonably priced plans and allow them that access to care,” Singh said.

The public has an opportunity to weigh in on this now through Aug. 1.

After that, the DOI will look at the reasoning behind the increases and determine if they are justifiable or need to come down. The process is set to be done by mid-October ahead of the open enrollment period.