The Colorado Division of Insurance (DOI) recently released a draft of their Section 1332 State Innovation Waiver amendment request to reach the premium rate reductions established by the Colorado Option. DOI is holding a public comment period for stakeholders to provide input on the amendment request, which is set to end on Nov. 15.
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Instead of requesting a new 1332 waiver, the state is requesting an amendment to their existing waiver, which the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) approved in August 2021 for the state’s reinsurance program, in order to implement the Colorado Option.
In what Kyla Hoskins, Colorado Option director at the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) calls a “first-in-the-nation” waiver, Colorado will operate both its reinsurance program and the Colorado Option under the single waiver.
Hoskins says the approval of this waiver will continue to lower premiums for Coloradans and provide greater access to health insurance. She also says the Colorado Option will save the federal government money, and those savings will pass through to the Health Insurance Affordability Enterprise (HIAE).
“We believe [the waiver] is going to reduce premiums in the individual and small group markets, and given that, we think we will be saving the federal government some money. We would like to use that money as pass-through funding to continue to make insurance more affordable and available to those where it currently isn’t.”
The pass-through funding from the federal government to the HIAE will allow the Public Benefit Corporation to sell Colorado Option individual health insurance plans to those who aren’t eligible for federal subsidies, like those without proper documentation. Hoskins says:
“If we are able to fully implement both of these programs, through the federal waiver, we lower insurance rates and we are able to provide additional subsidies to communities of color. So it is really our ultimate goal with providing these pass-through funds … Those funds will go to our [HIAE] and allow them to spend more money to make health insurance in Colorado more affordable and available to more people.”
She says this is one of the boldest federal waivers in the country.
“We are really excited to be first-in-the-nation with this type of work.”
DOI will host two virtual meetings for the public to ask questions and provide comments for this waiver amendment request on Nov. 9 and Nov. 10.