July 11th, 2022 – The federal government gave the green light to Colorado’s new “Colorado Option” which is to roll out on January 1st, 2023.
The Colorado Option requires standardized plans offered by both small group and individual health insurance companies. Standardized plans help consumers make “apples to apples’ comparisons between different carriers, since the benefits are identical. Customer service, networks and price will be the major differences.
Colorado Option plans must be priced 5% less than what they charged for plans in 2021. How they’ll pull that off with the inflation that caused healthcare costs to increase in 2022 remains to be seen. Colorado Option plans will be available both through the Connect for Health Colorado marketplace and carrier direct.
2023 rate filings by Colorado health insurance carriers in the individual and small group markets are to be filed with the Colorado Division of Insurance sometime this month, so it remains to be seen if the rates will satisfy the price reduction targets.
If the Colorado Option’s pricing doesn’t meet the 5% price reduction goal the DOI can hold public hearings and mandate lower hospital prices to reduce costs.
In theory, Colorado Option should create “pass-through” savings that will flow back to the state. Yet, the benefits are also supposed to be richer, so there is an apparent disconnect.