Colorado News Roundup: Another nonprofit health insurance company checks out; hunting and fishing fees may increase (08.28.16) | SummitDaily.com

Colorado News Roundup: Another nonprofit health insurance company checks out; hunting and fishing fees may increase (08.28.16)

Here's what's going on around Colorado today:

HEALTH

HEALTH INSURANCE SHAKE-UP CONTINUES

Another Colorado nonprofit health-insurance company is exiting the business.

Grand Junction-based Rocky Mountain Health Plans is being sold to insurance giant UnitedHealthcare, based in Minnetonka, Minn., according to an Aug. 3 filing by the companies with the state Division of Insurance.

UnitedHealthcare plans to retain the Rocky Mountain brand name for use in primarily the Grand Junction market.

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The move comes several months after Rocky Mountain announced plans to pull out of the Affordable Care Act health insurance exchange market except in its home county of Mesa County.

If the sale is approved by state regulators, UnitedHealthcare pledges to inject cash into Rocky Mountain to "help ensure that RMHMO is a viable, sustainable health plan over the long term," according to the filing.

Rocky Mountain, founded in 1974, would be the second largest Colorado nonprofit health insurer to exit the business in the past year.

Colorado Health-OP, created following the passage of the Affordable Care Act, was ordered closed by state regulators at the end of last year due to concerns about its financial losses from its exchange business.

HUNTING

COLORADO OFFICIALS SEEK HIGHER HUNTING, FISHING FEES

DENVER — Colorado wildlife officials are holding meetings across the state seeking support from sportsmen and other groups for a plan to double the cost of in-state hunting and fishing licenses.

Without the money, officials say they may have to put gates on state lands, shut down hatcheries and limit hunting licenses.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials have cut their budgets by about $40 million since 2009, including $10 million last year, and eliminated 50 jobs.

"No one wants to see raised fees," wildlife manager Lyle Sidener said. "But, if we are going to remain a premier destination for hunting and fishing, we have to make a choice about funding the future of our wildlife management and conservation."

The division is falling behind on dam and fisheries maintenance, and if revenue keeps going the way it is, the budget will be short $15 million to $20 million by 2023, The Denver Post reported.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife last raised residential hunting and fishing license fees in 2005. The price of a residential elk permit was raised to $49 from $34.

The division is seeking legislative approval to tie its in-state license fees to the consumer price index, which would add a few dollars every year to the cost of each license. Wildlife officials say a long-term decline in hunting and fishing participation is reducing funding and costs are climbing.

— The Associated Press