The Colorado Division of Insurance is trying to help members of the public understand the process it uses to review health premium rates.

Colorado division officials have explained the process in a list of answers to frequently asked questions about the Colorado health rate review process.

Colorado has a competitive individual market, with rates that are close to the national average, but rates are increasing at double-digit rates in spite of the review process, officials say.

“Rates are driven by medical spending, which is growing because of many factors including increased use of health care services, new technologies, prescription drugs, an aging population, and unhealthy lifestyles,” officials say. “Rate changes can vary depending on a company’s financial situation and whether its existing premiums cover its projected claims and administrative costs.”

Officials also describe the kinds of information an insurer must include when filing a rate increase and when an insurer must submit a rate filing.

Colorado Insurance Commissioner Marcy Morrison says the state posted the answers list because of a sense that the rate review system is “understood only by the few people who do the reviews.”

“We have received many questions on the process and wanted to make it more transparent,” Morrison says in a statement.

- Allison Bell