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Email: Obamacare-Compliant Policies Increased As Much As 65 Percent

A Colorado insurance broker implied that the cost of some small group insurance policies under the Affordable Care Act could increase by as much as 65 percent, according to an email sent to the Colorado Division of Insurance and obtained by a Colorado news website.

Complete Colorado reporter Todd Shepherd obtained the email through the state open records law — but only after he threatened to sue when some emails he’d requested were withheld.

Dorothy Marshall, the vice president of David A. Marshall and Associates, an insurance consultancy, sent the email to members of the state Department of Regulatory Agencies regarding the decision to allow policies that don’t comply with the ACA to continue to be sold through 2015.

“This could be very good news for groups who have not come in to ACA compliance yet,” Marshall wrote. “We have been dealing with group increases up to 65% for July ACA compliant plans.”

The ACA — often referred to as Obamacare — has played a big role in the Colorado Senate race, with challenger Rep. Cory Gardner, a Republican, ruthlessly hammering incumbent Democrat Mark Udall for his support of it.

Udall also famously tried to get the Division of Insurance to walk back the number of policies that it reported to have been cancelled under the ACA, arguing that most policyholders were given the opportunity to renew or buy new ones. Those renewals are only good through 2014, according to the Denver Post.

Udall’s quibbling about the numbers has been characterized by the Gardner campaign as an attempt to “cook the books.”

Complete Colorado noted that by allowing non-ACA compliant policies to be sold well past November’s election, the Division of Insurance allowed Udall to avoid another landmine in the Obamacare debate by not having to face criticism over costlier small group policies. The agency made the move after President Obama extended the noncompliance deadline in May.

“Whatever the intention, it was a wise political move for the Democrats,” Colorado College political science professor Robert Loevy told the Denver Post at the time.

“Anything that lessens the hardships or publicity relating to the Affordable Care Act will help Democrats in the elections.”

Complete Colorado also pointed out that several factors can contribute to the cost of such policies, but Marshall’s direct mention of “July ACA compliant plans” seems to put the blame on Obamacare.

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