Colorado hospitals to Kaiser Permanente: Don't blame us for $65M loss

Hospitals are pushing back against Kaiser Permanente Colorado's claim that it lost $65 million in the last three years primarily due to rising hospital prices.

Kaiser, the state's largest insurer, made the claim earlier this month in a story published Oct. 10 by The Denver Post. Kaiser recorded $280 million in underwriting losses on its insurance plans in Colorado from 2015 through 2017. However, due to investment income, Kaiser limited its overall net losses on operations in Colorado to $65 million, according to The Denver Post, which cited documents the company filed with the state.

"We think the tactics that are being employed by some of the employees and health systems in Colorado are unfair business practices, and we are developing right now a list of strategies to address those things," Kaiser Permanente Colorado President Ron Vance told The Denver Post.

The Colorado Hospital Association issued a response on Oct. 11, saying it is disappointed that Kaiser blamed hospitals in the state for the $65 million loss rather than taking responsibility for its own decisions.

"By its own admission, Kaiser's hospital expenses have increased a modest 2.7 percent annually in recent years, while Kaiser premiums in the individual market have increased more than 70 percent since 2014," the association said.

"Kaiser offers a unique insurance product to its members — a model that limits patient choice of providers and hospitals in exchange for lower prices. As such, Kaiser has a responsibility to educate its members on how they can access care and maximize their benefits."

Access the association's full response here.

Ayla Ellison contributed to this report.


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