DENVER — Colorado physicians hailed the creation of the Colorado Health Insurance Option, signed into law by Gov. Jared Polis today, which lowers premiums, reduces out-of-pocket costs and improves health care access and equity across the state.
“The Colorado Health Insurance Option is a game changer that will improve the lives of countless families across our state and reduce costs for my patients,” said Dr. Kristen Nordenholz, an emergency medicine physician in Aurora and the State Lead for the Colorado Chapter of the Committee to Protect Health Care. “By including more services at a pre-deductible level, the Colorado Option removes long standing barriers to health care that have prevented too many people from getting treatment in a timely fashion. As physicians, we applaud Gov. Jared Polis and leaders in the General Assembly who put the health and security of people first and foremost, and thanks to their efforts, Colorado can build a stronger, more inclusive health care future that leaves no one behind.”
The Colorado Health Insurance Option, or the Colorado Option, reduces health care premiums 15 percent over three years. Colorado will create a standardized benefit plan, available on the individual and small group market through private insurance carriers in every county in the state. If carriers fail to meet premium reduction targets, the state may set rates on a limited basis to meet consumer savings targets.
“As physicians, we see firsthand how high health care costs prevent people from seeing a doctor and increasingly burden small businesses that do the right thing by providing health insurance to their employees,” said Dr. Yolanda Bogaert, a nephrologist in Denver and a member of the Colorado Chapter of the Committee to Protect Health Care. “The price of doing nothing and allowing the status quo of high prices to continue means people delay care, and I see that in my exam room all the time, when people put off treatment because they want to avoid huge medical bills. The Colorado Option makes health coverage more affordable for families and small businesses, lowering out-of-pocket costs so people who need to get a medical test, therapy or treatment no longer have to choose between their wellbeing and paying the bills. The Colorado Option is a truly meaningful step forward and establishes Colorado as a leader in finding solutions to reduce high health care costs so everyone has the opportunity to live full, meaningful and productive lives.”
Additionally, the Colorado Option requires improvements to racial health equity and reductions of racial health disparities. Under-served and under-represented communities, including people of color and rural communities, will provide input and oversight as engaged stakeholders. With this engagement, insurance companies must create more diverse, more equitable networks designed to reduce disparities and expand access.
“The Colorado Option demands greater accountability from insurance corporations that have benefited handsomely for many years and requires them to take meaningful action so people who have been left behind for too long actually get health care, and that’s an amazing achievement that can improve the health of entire populations,” said Dr. Carlos Franco-Paredes, an infectious disease specialist in Denver and a member of the Colorado Chapter of the Committee to Protect Health Care. “By focusing on the needs of under-served, under-represented and rural communities, the Colorado Option provides real financial savings for families and small businesses so they can afford to see a doctor, and protections for hospitals that disproportionately serve uninsured individuals and people who rely on Medicare and Medicaid. With the Colorado Option, hospitals and health care providers can meet their mission of improving health and reducing disparities, without sacrificing their margins and risking financial bankruptcy. As a physician, the Colorado Option gives me tremendous hope for the future of my patients, the families we serve and our state.”
About the Committee to Protect Health Care
The Committee to Protect Health Care, formerly known as the Committee to Protect Medicare, is a national mobilization of doctors, health care professionals, and advocates who are building a pro-patient health care majority in Congress and in states so that we can live in an America where everyone has the health care they need to thrive. To learn more: www.committeetoprotect.org