A Step Toward Increasing Health Care Affordability

While our state ranks as one of the healthiest in the country, we know far too many Coloradans struggle to afford health care. In a recent poll, the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative (CCHI) finds half of Colorado adults in need of health care over the past year “encountered one or more cost-related barrier to getting that care.” In the day-to-day lives of Coloradans, this may mean delaying going to a doctor, skipping needed treatment, or not filling prescriptions.

Though health care costs continue to rise, there is good news. Policymakers aren’t only becoming more aware of the widespread inability to afford quality health care, but they’re taking forceful steps to solve the systemic issues behind this complex problem. This legislative session, a number of good bills that tackle an array of health care concerns are making their way through the Colorado legislature. Collectively, these bills — which include efforts to increase hospital transparency requirements, strengthen out-of-network patient protections, and create a new reinsurance program — represent positive movement toward creating a health care system that works for all Coloradans.

Related: Briefed by the Bell – Health Care

While each of the above-mentioned pieces of health care legislation are important in their own right, the Bell is especially excited about HB19-1004, a Proposal for Affordable Health Coverage Option. The bill has been moving through the legislature, and is a priority for Governor Polis. If passed, Colorado’s Department of Health Care Policy and Finance and Division of Insurance will develop a new health insurance option, built upon existing state infrastructure, to increase affordability for consumers.

HB19-1004 offers Colorado a valuable roadmap toward developing an alternative, competitive health coverage option that recognizes the specific challenges and resources of our state. It allows Colorado to meet affordability challenges with the ingenuity and innovation our state is known for.

As we detail in our Guide to Economic Mobility, affordable, quality health coverage is essential for economic mobility. We believe HB19-1004 represents a positive step forward toward creating a health system that supports and improves the lives of Colorado families. We know HB19-1004 won’t solve all of Coloradan’s health care problems, but we do believe it advances the goal of ensuring all residents have access to the health coverage they need to thrive.