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March 10, 2023

House Dems Pass Bills to Reduce Premiums and Lower Drug Costs

DENVER, CO - The House Health and Insurance Committee today passed legislation that will save Coloradans money on health insurance premiums for Colorado Option plans and make prescription drugs more affordable.

“We’re building on the success of the Colorado Option to continue to drive down health care premiums and make it easier to find high value plans on the exchange,” said Rep. Iman Jodeh, D-Aurora, sponsor of HB23-1224.” The Colorado Option is helping Colorado families and businesses keep more of their hard-earned money and has increased access to high quality health care, especially for lower income people who have disproportionately faced barriers to getting the care they need.”

“We’ve made bold progress to drive down the cost of health care and create new options for consumers,” said Rep. Kyle Brown, D-Louisville, sponsor of HB23-1224. “The legislation we passed today ensures that excessive profits and administrative costs won’t be passed down to consumers while also improving the rate review process to ensure that these plans actually reduce premiums for consumers.”

HB23-1224, which passed by a vote of 8-1, will lower insurance premiums and make it easier for consumers to shop for high value standardized health plans that work for them and their families. 

The updates to the Colorado Option strengthen the Division of Insurance’s (DOI) ability to hold carriers accountable for the premium rate reduction requirements on Colorado Option Standardized Plans by granting the DOI to:

  • Limit factors such as as excessive profit and administrative expenses; 

  • Structure the public hearings process efficiently while ensuring all parties have the opportunity to participate; 

  • Help consumers easily find and compare plans that could lower their out-of-pocket costs.

“Colorado is leading the nation with innovative ways to save people money on prescription drugs and lower the cost of health care,” said Rep. Chris deGruy Kennedy, D-Lakewood, sponsor of HB23-1225. "We established the Prescription Drug Affordability Board in 2021 to ensure that consumers can afford the highest cost drugs. Now, we’re expanding these cost saving measures to reduce out-of-pocket prices for more medications by increasing the board’s efficacy and saving Coloradans more money on their essential prescriptions.”

“Coloradans should never have to ration life-saving prescription drugs due to price gouging from big pharmaceutical companies,” said Rep. Ruby Dickson, D-Centennial, sponsor of HB23-1225. “This legislation will limit out-of-pocket costs for more life-saving prescriptions and help more Coloradans avoid the difficult decision of paying for the medication they need and other necessities.”

HB23-1225, which passed by a vote of 8-3, increases the effectiveness of the Prescription Drug Affordability Board (PDAB) to help lower out-of-pocket prescription drug costs for Coloradans.

In 2021, lawmakers passed the Prescription Drug Affordability Board to evaluate and place upper price limits on the highest cost prescription drugs. The legislation introduced today will increase the impact of the Prescription Drug Affordability Board to save people money on out of pocket prescription drug costs. It removes the limit on setting no more than 12 Upper Payment Limits (UPLs) per year in the first three years of the PDAB, and improves the criteria for selecting drugs for an affordability review.

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