Mayling Simpson: Financial devastation with ColoradoCare? | SteamboatToday.com

Mayling Simpson: Financial devastation with ColoradoCare?







We hear a lot about the financial devastation that ColoradoCare will cause our businesses, nonprofits and individuals, especially here in Routt County where we have a largely tourist economy with plenty of restaurants and retail stores.

I have been gathering data on the impact of ColoradoCare in Routt County, since as a voter, I want to know the facts before voting. As much as I want universal health care, I would never vote for devastation.

So far, I have interviewed seven nonprofits, 11 businesses, six public entities and five individuals who used the calculator at http://www.coloradocare.org. Two more people double-checked all the math.

My findings to date are: one large nonprofit and two businesses will be hit hard (two at $37,000 and one at $54,000), because they do not insure any employees and have high payrolls; five others will pay $1,000 to $6,700 more. Nine entities will have savings of $11,000 to $621,000 annually from insurance premiums. A medical center will save over $3 million, based on their 2014 form 990. In addition, our combined public entities, county and city governments and school systems, will save over $7 million. But what about individuals?

A small nonprofit here in Routt County will save $21,000 under ColoradoCare. But the director was more concerned about the impact on staff, especially those workers at the lower end of the income scale.

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"Let's do the math," I said. "What is the average salary of your staff?" "$28,000," she said. "So let's pull up information on someone earning about $28,000."

This staff member is fully insured but pays $550 per month ($6,600 annually or 24 percent of her salary) to cover her spouse. Under ColoradoCare she will pay $77 per month, an annual savings of about $5,700, not including her $2,000 deductible per family member and her copays, which could bring the savings up to over $9,700.

A local school teacher with four dependents earns $60,000 and pays $15,500 (26 percent of salary) in insurance premiums, deductibles and copays. He will save $13,300 under ColoradoCare.

Another school teacher with dependents earning $52,000 will save $10,084. If they have working spouses and other income, the savings will be less. But overall, the 430 insured school staff in Routt County, together, will likely save over $1 million.

People paying relatively less on health insurance are those who are eligible for subsidies under Connect for Health Colorado.

A self-employed young couple in town with two children earning $42,000 found a Silver Plan in 2016 for $1,040 per month (29 percent of income). They qualified for a subsidy and pay $275 per month, ($3,300 annually or 9 percent of income), but still have an $8,000 family deductible and copays. Under ColoradoCare they would pay about $4,200 annually and no deductible or copays. ColoradoCare outstrips the ACA subsidies for savings.

And what about retirees on Medicare that will also have to pay the ColoradoCare premium? Double-paying, as they see it.

A retired couple over 65 whose retirement income is $96,000 figured they are going to save $2,200 if they give up their Medicare supplement plan, or pay an additional $500 per year if they keep it.

Surely some wealthy individuals will pay more, but that is not devastation.

I don't see the predicted financial devastation in Routt County. I see workers with expensive health insurance who will benefit tremendously from ColoradoCare. I see some businesses and nonprofits will pay more but others will save money. Public institutions will save hugely. These savings will greatly benefit our local economy.

I urge you to do your own calculations.

Mayling Simpson

Steamboat Springs

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