Fewer small businesses in Colorado offering health insurance

Fewer small businesses in Colorado offering health insurance

Denver Business Journal


The number of small businesses offering health insurance to employees in Colorado declined by 7 percent last year, the state Division of Insurance reported Monday.

The number dropped by 2,210, to 31,524 companies last year. The decline has been steady since 2006 and is off from 65,590 small businesses providing health coverage in 2001.

The Division of Insurance also reported the number of employees receiving health insurance through a small business fell by 4 percent last year. The findings were detailed in the division’s 2011 Colorado Small Group Market Activity Report. A PDF of the report can be downloaded here.

The small-group market is defined as employers who offer health insurance to their employees and who have no more than 50 eligible employees.

The total number of people with health coverage in the small-group market in Colorado has steadily fallen since 2001 and last year declined by 10,625, ending at 256,786.

The biggest change was in the number of sole proprietors carrying health coverage, which fell by 35 percent, to 5,974.

But the number of health plans offered by Colorado companies with 26 to 50 employees grew by 53 percent and covered 18,628 more people.

The Division of Insurance said 14 companies wrote policies for small businesses last year, and collected premiums of $1.1 billion.

UnitedHealthcare had the biggest market share in Colorado in the small group market, at 31.99 percent. Kaiser was second, with a 27.54 percent market share. Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield was third, with a market share of 22.59 percent.

Three of the 14 companies are no longer writing new small group policies and are getting out of the market: Aetna Life Insurance Co., Mid-West National Life Insurance Company of Tennessee and Transamerica Life Insurance Co.

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