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On Wednesday, Colorado Senate Democrats issued the following press release on a committee vote approving the Standardized Health Benefit Plan Colorado Option (HB1232):
This evening, the Senate Health & Human Services Committee passed HB21-1232 with strong support after hours of testimony. The bill, sponsored by Senate President Pro Temp Kerry Donovan, seeks to make health insurance coverage more affordable and more accessible, provide relief for small businesses, improve health equity, and maintain protections for rural & critical access hospitals.
“For decades the price of health care in Colorado has been on the rise. For the one-in-five of us who struggle to pay for health care, or make the impossible choice to go without care entirely, the current system isn’t working,” said Sen. Kerry Donovan, D-Vail. “We refused to accept that there was nothing that could be done to change the status quo, and set out to make that change by inviting a diverse coalition of stakeholders to the table. This bill is a result of that collaborative process and we’ll move forward together in ensuring that all Coloradans have access to high-quality, affordable health care.”
Specifically, the bill requires health insurance carriers to reduce premiums by at least 18% over the next three years. If carriers fail to meet premium reduction targets, the state may set rates on a limited basis to meet consumer savings targets. Additionally, the state will create a standardized benefit plan, available on the individual and small group market through private insurance carriers in every county in the state.
The development of the standardized plan will undergo diverse stakeholder engagement and solicit oversight from people of color and Coloradans who live in both rural and urban areas of the state. This is designed to improve racial health equity and decrease racial health disparities.
Overall, HB21-1232 will simultaneously lower out-of-pocket costs for people, families, and businesses across the state, extend coverage to immigrant families and individuals – regardless of documentation status, and insert accountability into the health insurance industry through several transparency mechanisms.
The bill now heads to the Senate Appropriations Committee for further consideration. To read the bill and find updates regarding the status, visit leg.colorado.gov/bills/hb21-1232.