Nearly twice as many people are expected to drop out of Colorado’s state-run health care exchange in the coming years than originally projected, leading to nearly $2 million lost in associated fees for the financially embattled program over the next two years.
Connect for Health Colorado originally projected that 13 percent of enrollees will either leave the exchange in fiscal 2015 or fail to pay their bills, but now they project the figure to be as high as 24 percent, according to the Denver Post.
If that’s the case, the exchange will lose out on about $1 million in fees those patients pay to help keep the exchange running.
For fiscal 2016, the estimate increased from 16 percent dropping out to 22 percent, which would mean an additional loss of $740,000, the Post reported.
The Post reported that the lost income resulting from more people dropping out of the program wouldn’t put the exchange in the red, but it would mean less revenue flowing into its reserve fund.
The news comes just a month after the exchange’s board approved fee increases on health insurance plans — including those not obtained through the exchange — aimed to raise $13 million in revenue.
The estimates were revised to reflect national trends, Chief Financial Officer Cammie Blais told the paper.
The downward revenue revisions are only the latest blow to Connect for Health Colorado, which has been questioned about how it handles its money.
Last month, a former director pled guilty to embezzling taxpayer money when she ran a housing agency in Montana.
The exchange’s CEO made waves when she requested a raise and bonus during a lackluster initial rollout in October, and board members were dismayed to learn that the exchange paid private lawyers as much as $575 per hour even though it is qualified to receive advice for free from the state attorney general’s office.
Exchange staffers told board members that they didn’t have actual numbers yet on people who’ve left the exchange — by signing onto a spouse’s policy or one offered through their employer, for example — or who’ve failed to pay their bills.
“We expect a much clearer picture by the end of the summer,” Blais is quoted as saying in the Post.
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