Unfair insurance rates afflict Garfield County

One doesn’t have to be a critic of Obamacare or Colorado’s implementation of the law through the state Division of Insurance to recognize that Garfield County residents are getting a raw deal with regard to insurance rates.

Garfield County was lumped in with the resort communities in Pitkin, Eagle and Summit counties when it came to classifications for individual and small-group insurance under the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare.

As a result, the primarily working-class residents of Garfield County will be paying what are described as the highest premiums in the country, even though the county’s health care costs on average are much lower than those in the resort communities.

It’s no wonder that the Garfield County commissioners are angry enough over the questionable rate structure that they are prepared to sue the state Division of Insurance over it.

Commissioner Tom Jankovsky described the rate structure as a clear case of discrimination against the county and its residents. And, while county officials said they have tried to work with the state on the issue, they have received little assistance.

As The Daily Sentinel’s Dennis Webb reported Wednesday, Division of Insurance representatives have said the division plans to examine regional cost differences and why they occur. But no changes are planned to the insurance-rate structure through 2015.

It is rarely welcome news when one tax-funded government entity takes legal action against another tax-funded agency, because taxpayers end up footing both ends of the bill. But it appears Garfield County has solid grounds for its frustration. Here’s hoping state officials will pay attention to those arguments and find a means of addressing the county’s concerns short of legal action.


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