Coloradans Shouldn’t be Forced to Choose Between Paying for Their Mortgage or Health Insurance

(Jan. 23) – The House Health and Insurance Committee approved a bipartisan bill by Rep. Dylan Roberts, D-Avon and Rep. Marc Catlin, R-Montrose to create a new affordable and competitive health option in the state of Colorado that will be available to families and individuals when purchasing health insurance.

Currently, there are 14 counties in our state with only one option on the individual market and many counties are left with a small number of options for health insurance. This bill will increase competition in the market.

“This bipartisan bill is a uniquely Colorado solution to a big problem we have in our state,” said Rep. Roberts. “Too many Coloradans, especially in rural Colorado, are paying too much for health insurance.”

HB19-1004 represents significant progress towards developing a publicly supported health insurance option on the market that leverages the efficiencies of our current state infrastructure. This public option will help put affordable health insurance in reach for many hardworking families across our state.

“Families are deciding whether to pay out of control health insurance costs each month or forgo coverage for themselves and their kids,” Roberts continued. “Providing families and individuals an affordable option will make a difference in their lives and help keep them in our rural communities. This bill is part of the puzzle, it’s done in a responsible way to create a new health insurance option in Colorado.”

Eagle County has some of the highest cost of health care premiums in the country.

The bill directs experts at the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing and the Division of Insurance to create a proposal for implementing a public option that leverages already-existing state infrastructure. That proposal must be presented to the Joint Budget Committee, House Public Health and Human Services Committee; House Health and Insurance Committee, Senate Health and Human Services Committee and Joint committees during SMART Act hearings later this year.

When exploring the creation of public option, the departments must consider affordability to the consumer, administrative and financial consideration for the state, ease of implementation and impacts to the market as a whole.

The bill was approved by a bipartisan vote of 9-2 and now goes to the House Appropriations Committee.

The Health and Insurance Committee also approved Rep. Roberts’ bill to authorize a pharmacist to dispense a chronic maintenance drug to a patient without a current prescription in emergency circumstances. The bill was approved unanimously.

HB19-1077 now goes to the House floor.

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