DENVER—Sen. Mark Udall was cleared by state officials last week of using intimidation to skew Colorado’s insurance-cancellation figures, but it turns out Insurancegate isn’t over just yet.
Colorado Senate Republicans sent a letter Wednesday asking state Insurance Commissioner Marguerite Salazar for more details on the cancelled insurance policies stemming from the Affordable Care Act.
First on the list is an updated number of how many individual policies have been cancelled due to Obamacare, as well as how many employer plans have been cancelled.
The state insurance division reported in November that nearly 250,000 individual policies had been cancelled, a number that was frequently repeated until last week, when Rep. Cory Gardner, Colorado Republican, received a letter from Salazar’s office saying that the number is now over 335,000.
“Senate Republicans find it extremely troubling that 85,000 additional Coloradans have had their insurance policies cancelled due to Obamacare in just over two months,” said the letter, signed by all 17 Republican state senators.
The letter also requests a geographic breakdown of policy cancellations by county “to better illustrate which parts of the state have been impacted the most by cancellations,” as well as a price differential between the old policies and proposed replacement policies.
Udall aides had pressed Salazar’s office to reconfigure the cancellation figures by including the number of policy renewals offered to those whose policies were struck, according to emails obtained and released two weeks ago by Complete Colorado.
Critics argue that the renewal options are inevitably more expensive than the cancelled policies, due to the increased benefits mandated under Obamacare.
The Senate Republicans also asked the insurance division to release data on a monthly basis showing the number of individual and employer-based insurance cancellations.
“Unemployment data is reported on a monthly basis and a similar reporting system for policy cancellations would greatly benefit the citizens of Colorado,” said a statement by the Colorado Senate Republicans.
At a Jan. 14 legislative hearing, Salazar brushed off the aggressive emails from Udall’s office, saying such exchanges are not uncommon. An email from one state insurance regulator accused Udall’s staff of trying to “trash our numbers.”
The same day, the state Department of Regulatory Agencies rejected a request for an investigation filed by state Rep. Amy Stephens (R-Monument), saying that there was “no information to support an allegation of real (or perceived) intimidation.”
Republicans accused the agency heads of covering up for Udall, noting that they are appointed by Gov. John Hickenlooper. Both the governor and Udall are Democrats.