Colorado Legislature passes bill to create Colorado Health Insurance Affordability Enterprise

Colorado lawmakers approved legislation today to create the Colorado Health Insurance Affordability Enterprise, which will administer a health insurance affordability fee assessed on certain health insurers and a special assessment on hospitals to fund measures to reduce consumer costs for individual health coverage plans.

House amendments to the bill, SB 215, were approved in the Colorado Senate, and it’s next stop will be Gov. Jared Polis’s desk for his signature.

The physical and economic health of Colorado depends on the health of all of us,” said Healthier Colorado executive director Jake Williams. “Over many years, we have taken multiple steps to expand access to healthcare and lower the cost of premiums. This bill marks another milestone that proves healthcare affordability is possible, even with an unprecedented budgetary shortfall. When we put people first, everyone benefits.”

The primary function of the affordability fee is to increase the number of individuals who are able to purchase health benefit plans in the individual market by providing financial support for certain qualifying individuals.

 

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SB 215 funds Colorado’s reinsurance program credited with offsetting the costs carriers would otherwise pay for covering consumers with high medical costs. The reinsurance program lowered premiums for those purchasing on the individual market by 20 percent in its first year. About 250,000 Coloradans purchase their health insurance on the individual market through via the state’s reinsurance program.

The bill also reduces provider cost shifting from the individual market and the uninsured to the group market.

Additionally, the bill allows for further expansion of coverage to including people in the “family glitch,” which ties what is considered affordable employer coverage to the cost of the employee, rather than factoring in the higher cost of covering the entire family.

We are grateful for state lawmakers for their commendable effort to expand affordable health insurance during a global pandemic. We believe affordable health care is a necessary step to ensure kids and families can access quality health care especially in these difficult times,” said Erin Miller, Vice President, Health Initiatives at Colorado Children’s Campaign.