March 5, 2020

DENVER – March 5, 2020 – Today, the Polis administration introduced its proposal to create a government- controlled health insurance program. The government health insurance program will likely decrease competition by forcing carriers out of the Colorado market.

In response to the bill’s introduction, Executive Director Amanda Massey stated, “To lower health insurance costs for Coloradans, we must directly tackle the high hospital, physician services, and pharmaceutical prices which provide the basis for the health insurance premium. Instead, the administration has chosen to create a health care czar, with unprecedented authority, to dictate the product, price and place where we must sell health insurance in the state. CAHP is fundamentally opposed to this approach. It will not be effective in reducing costs, creating competition, or offering choice to Coloradans. As introduced, the government health insurance program would raise costs for carriers, reduce vital consumer services and risk destabilizing the market as carriers make difficult decisions about whether they can be viable in Colorado.

To truly save people money on health care, the administration should reconsider passing policies that only make premiums higher for Coloradans. We estimate that in 2019 and 2020, implementation of new policies passed by the legislature and then approved and implemented by the Polis administration, will increase premiums by at least $200 million across Colorado’s fully insured market.”

Health insurance premiums are a direct reflection of the prices of health care services. In the most recent Division of Insurance Cost Report (2017), carriers in Colorado had a net profit margin of -4.9% while the medical trend cost increased an average 8.3% and pharmaceutical cost trend increased an average of 15.7%. As proposed, the government health insurance option would risk the gains achieved in recent years to stabilize health insurance markets and risk leaving Coloradans with fewer options for health insurance.