House Dems Advance Colorado Option

Bill will save consumers 18 percent on health care and create a new insurance option

DENVER, CO– The House today advanced the Colorado Health Insurance Option on a preliminary vote. The bill would significantly lower health insurance premiums on the individual and small group markets and create a new option for consumers to save Coloradans money and increase access to health care.

“Lower health insurance premiums and new options are on the way. No one should avoid going to a doctor or hospital just because they can’t afford the health care they need,” said Rep. Dylan Roberts, D-Avon. “I’m proud that we brought everyone in the health care industry to the table to deliver big savings for Coloradans. The Colorado Option is going to save people 18 percent on their health insurance premiums and create an affordable choice for individuals, families, and small businesses. This is an exciting moment for Coloradans across our state.”

“I came to the legislature to work hard to give my constituents a shot at achieving the American dream,” said Representative Iman Jodeh, D-Aurora. “But far too many Black, Brown, and low-income families in my district and across Colorado are being held back by the crippling costs of health care. Today we took a monumental step toward giving Coloradans a quality, affordable health care option that increases equity and ensures that families can get the care they need.” 

Before the pandemic, 20 percent of Coloradans struggled to afford the cost of health care or went without care because they couldn’t afford it. One in six Colorado counties has only one health insurance carrier on the individual market. The COVID-19 pandemic exposed gaps in the state’s health system and exacerbated existing inequities that have only made it harder for Coloradans to access affordable care. 

HB21-1232 will bring more affordable health insurance options to Coloradans in the individual and small group market. This proposal provides the health care industry an opportunity to work collaboratively to reduce their premiums, and allows them to innovate and figure out how to do that. Health insurance carriers would be required to bring premiums down by 18 percent over three years.

The bill requires health insurance carriers to offer a standardized health plan, meaning Colorado consumers will have a new insurance option that covers the services they need at a lower cost. The standardized plan must address historical health inequities, and it will lower out-of-pocket costs for consumers. The plan would be offered in both the small group and individual markets, increasing access and affordability for small businesses who choose to offer a health benefit. The proposal ensures industry participation and accountability by creating Colorado’s first Insurance Consumer Ombudsman and public hearing process to ensure affordability and access targets are met.