While Coloradans struggle with soaring healthcare costs, they are faced with a decreasing number of options to purchase affordable health insurance. Washington’s unwillingness to step in and solve the problem has only made matters worse.
All areas of Colorado have experienced rising insurance premiums, but rural areas of the state have been hit especially hard. In 2018, Coloradans located in the eastern part of the state saw average insurance rate increases by 34%. Those in the western portion of the state saw premium spikes of 30% And people living in 14 rural counties only have a single health insurance carrier to buy insurance from.
Without greater competition, Coloradans will continue to see growing health insurance costs. But this year, legislators are trying to tackle the high cost of insurance by looking at new and innovative ways to bring new insurance products to the market, to bring down costs while ensuring high quality coverage and care.
A bi-partisan bill before the legislature would have opened the door to a number of different health insurance coverage alternatives, including the innovative idea of allowing people who purchase their insurance through the private marketplace the option of instead buying health care coverage through Colorado’s existing Medicaid program, bringing down the price of care for people in hard-hit areas of the state. Unfortunately, that bill failed this year.
With the cost of insurance soaring, Colorado has an opportunity to explore new, affordable, and high-quality health coverage options on the individual insurance market despite ongoing federal uncertainty. Next year, Colorado lawmakers must address Colorado’s soaring health care costs.