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Stethoscope over the dollar bills.

Rates for people buying their own health insurance in Colorado could rise about 6 percent next year, the smallest increase in years, the Colorado Division of Insurance said Friday.

The requested rate hikes will not be finalized until late summer or early fall, and consumers can file formal comments through Aug. 3.

The same seven companies that offered individual plans on Colorado’s health insurance exchange, Connect for Health Colorado, are returning for 2019, a Division of Insurance news release says. And all counties in the state will have at least one on-exchange company selling individual health plans.

Next year’s average premium increase request is 5.94 percent for the individual market, which includes consumers without employer- or government-based health insurance. The average for the small group market is 7.15 percent. In all, a total of 16 insurance companies plan to offer 808 individual and small group plans.

“Remember, these are averages across all plans from all companies, across all areas of the state where a company offers plans, for all ages,” the release says. “These averages are not representative of how one individual’s premium could change.”

Individual market rates rose by an average of at least 20 percent in 2017 and 2018.

The Division of Insurance will review the plans to make sure the requested premiums are “neither too high nor too low,” and ensuring that the plans comply with the Affordable Care Act and state laws, the release says.

The plans and requested premiums from the insurance companies are available on the Division of Insurance’s website at colorado.gov/pacific/dora/health-insurance-plan-filings-and-approved-plans?utm_ medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery.

Ellie is a general assignment reporter. She's a proud Midwesterner, stationery hoarder and Earl Grey tea enthusiast. After interning at The Gazette in 2015, she joined the newspaper's staff in 2016.

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