High Insurance Rates Anger Some Ski-Country Coloradans

Early December brought a foot of fresh powder to the resorts of Vail, Colo., but some residents are still steaming.

Early December brought a foot of fresh powder to the resorts of Vail, Colo., but some residents are still steaming.


Zach Mahone, Beaver Creek Resort/AP

Some of the biggest ski resorts anywhere lie in U.S. Rep. Jared Polis’ Colorado district, dotting the peaks of Summit and Eagle counties, about a hundred miles west of Denver. The area has a high rate of uninsured people and also, it turns out, health plans that are much more expensive than similar plans in surrounding regions. So expensive that Polis, a Democrat, has asked the federal government to exempt some of his constituents from the requirement to buy health insurance.

“The way the pricing came in under the Affordable Care Act … was anything but affordable in Summit and Eagle counties,” Polis says. “Upwards of $500 to $600 a month, minimum. Whereas in other parts of my district — like Fort Collins and the Boulder area — the pricing is really good. You [can] get a very strong, good insurance program for $300 to $350 a month.”

Colorado’s insurance commissioner, Marguerite Salazar, disputes the congressman’s assessment of his district.

“I’ve been very pleasantly surprised to see that in some cases they’re able to get a lower-cost plan than people with the same demographic information in Denver,” she says.

The health plan prices Salazar is talking about include subsidies that can lower costs for people making below a certain income. Couples, for instance, can get a subsidy if they make less than about $62,000 a year. But Salazar’s argument didn’t impress people at a recent public meeting she held in Summit County.

“You try living in this

Article source: http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/12/12/250320941/high-insurance-rates-anger-some-ski-country-coloradans?ft=1&f=131849999

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