NU Online News Service, May 6, 3:29 p.m. – The Colorado Division of Insurance has released results of an annual survey that paint a dismal picture of the state’s small group health insurance market.
The Colorado division defines a small group as a group with one to 50 employees.
Carriers operating in the state’s small group market reported serving 65,590 small groups Dec. 31, 2001, 6.7% fewer than they served a year earlier. Over the same period, the number of individuals covered by small group plans fell 15%, to about 457,000.
Only 34 carriers reported having small group business at the end of 2001, down from 44 a year earlier. Many of the remaining plans are HMOs with limited service areas.
“These numbers, along with an increase in the number of business groups of one, continue a disturbing trend of larger, healthier groups leaving the small group market and a disproportionate number of smaller, less healthy groups entering the market,” Colorado Insurance Commissioner William J. Kirven III says in a statement accompanying an announcement of the survey results.
Colorado remains one of a small number of states that offer limited guaranteed issue coverage to self-employed individuals, or business groups of one. Self-employed insureds and their dependents accounted for 78,610 of Colorado’s small group market lives, or 17.2% of Colorado’s entire small group market, the Colorado division reports.
The number of business groups of one actually increased to 36,436 in 2001, from 28,805 in 2000. That means that most of the decline in the number of small employer groups was concentrated in groups with two to 50 members, the Colorado vision says.