Bills to Reduce Increasing Costs of Health Insurance Progress in Colorado Legislature

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DENVER – The inhabitants of the Highlands suffering from health insurance headaches in recent years could be relieved. Two bills currently being implemented in the state's legislative process could significantly reduce the tariffs of people in the relevant market.

A, a reinsurance proposal, could cut third – party rates as early as next year for the approximately 3,000 residents of Eagle County who are uninsured by their employer and who must therefore buy in the individual market, where there are only two very expensive options of Obamacare.

The other bill, a public option provided by the state, will take another year if the bill passes because of the time required to obtain federal exemptions. Both bills are either sponsored or co-sponsored by Senator Kerry Donovan of Vail and state representative Dylan Roberts of Avon.

"The rural areas of Coloradans are facing the highest costs of health insurance in the country.This bill will create a reinsurance program that will drive down prices in the individual market," said Donovan, a Democrat. , about the State Innovation Waiver Reinsurance Program (HB-1168).

There are around 500,000 Coloradans in the individual market.

"This bill reflects one of our highest priorities in the Senate and the most important concern of voters: the need to reduce the costs of health care throughout the state," added Donovan, principal sponsor of the bill in the Senate. Credits Friday.

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How reinsurance works

Reinsurance uses public funds and funds from hospitals and insurance companies to subtract about 5% of high-risk clients from the accounts of a private insurance company and pay them. separately, lowering rates for the low-risk group of customers, 95%. .

The reinsurance bill will also require a federal waiver, but it can be requested and, hopefully, granted earlier, so that cost savings are in place by 2020 if the law is passed.

"So the plan is to put it into effect for registrations this year (in December), and estimates indicate that for Western Slope counties like Eagle, Pitkin, Routt, anywhere like that, it's located between 30 and 40% decrease in premium, "said Roberts.

Of course, things are resuming from a few years ago when rates began to rise at double-digit rates on the Western Slope after the Affordable Care Act came into effect in 2014. In 2019, a family of five pays more than $ 2,000 a month for an Anthem or Kaiser Obamacare package and must earn less than $ 117,680 ($ 48,560 for individuals) to qualify for the tax credits provided by the plan. Affordable Care Act.

The law on the reduction of taxes and the employment of 2017 has removed the individual mandate of Obamacare, and the non conforming plans are a little cheaper (without threat of fiscal penalty), but these plans may refuse to customers from pre-existing conditions. A family of five whose income exceeds the limit set by the Affordable Care Act can still expect to pay $ 1,500 per month for a non-compliant plan.

Insurance for health insurance companies

Democratic Representative Julie McCluskie, D-Dillon, and Republican Representative Janice Rich of R-Grand Junction are the main sponsors of the bill, billed as "insurance for state health insurance companies" ". The bill also has bipartisan sponsorship in the Senate, with Donovan joined by Republican Senator Bob Rankin, of Carbondale.

And he has the support of Democratic Gov. Jared Polis and the CEO of the State Public Health Exchange, Kevin Patterson, of Connect For Health Colorado, who said: "When he was adopted , the bill would provide significant relief from individual health insurance premiums. " market – on and off market – especially in rural areas. "Urban areas with more competition will see less savings.

On Monday, Roberts saw his public option bill to pass the House on a 46-18 bipartite vote. He is now going to the Senate for consideration. The bill aims to increase competition in underserved Colorado counties. There are 14 counties across the state with a single Obamacare plan and several like Eagle County with only two choices.

The proposal for an affordable health coverage option (HB-1004) charges the Department of Health Care and Funding Policies of Colorado and the Insurance Division to design a public option utilizing existing infrastructure and focused on consumer affordability. The plan must be presented to the legislature by December, at which time federal exemptions will be continued.

The idea is to reduce costs by creating competition in underserved markets, but this requires a federal innovation override.

"We are going to innovate with some of the dollars that are already going (in Colorado) through the Affordable Care Act," Roberts said. "So we need a waiver to do that and that is how we reduce costs … we try to use our existing funding, in a slightly different way. "

Also Monday, the House approved HB-1131 by a vote of 40-23, sending him to the Senate. Sponsored by Representative Sonya Jaquez-Lewis, D-Longmont, this proposal aims to ensure the transparency of the cost of prescription drugs.