Colorado reinsurance program gets final federal approval |

Colorado reinsurance program gets final federal approval

Legislation sponsored by Sen. Kerry Donovan of Vail is expected to lower cost of Individual plans by 18.2 percent

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis smiles in May after signing a bill alongside Sen. Kerry Donovan, Lt. Gov. Dianne Primavera and Rep. Dylan Roberts outside of Blue Moose Pizza in Lionshead Village. Donovan and Roberts sponsored legislation that aims to decrease the cost of health insurance for mountain residents.
Chris Dillmann |

The federal government on Wednesday gave final approval for Colorado to establish a new state reinsurance program. The reinsurance program was created earlier this year with the passage of HB19-1168, a bill sponsored by Sen. Kerry Donovan (D-Vail) and Julie McCluskie (D-Dillon), and will lower the cost of health insurance premiums for Coloradans by helping to cover the state’s highest-risk individuals. 

“We made a promise to Coloradans that we would work to lower healthcare costs, and we delivered on that promise today,” Donovan said in a news release. “I’m particularly proud to deliver on that promise for the rural communities with few options, little competition, and high prices.” 

“Reinsurance is a creative, Colorado solution that will have a real and immediate impact on people across this state. Families on the Western Slope could save as much as $9,000 per year thanks to the reinsurance program. Those savings are life-changing for people like my neighbors who couldn’t buy a new car after theirs broke down because of the cost of their health insurance,” added Donovan. 

In July, Gov. Jared Polis announced preliminary rates for individual health insurance plans in 2020.

“For the first time in history, Coloradans in the individual health insurance market will save an average of 18.2 percent next year. Finally, we’re driving insurance premiums down,” Polis said in a release from the governor’s office. “Bringing down the outrageous cost of health care in our state has been a top priority for my administration from the beginning, and this is a significant milestone on our way toward achieving that goal. We’re already seeing the direct impact this program will have on premiums on the individual market. That’s thousands of dollars in savings that Coloradans can put toward paying the mortgage, saving for college or retirement, taking a family vacation, or just living their lives.”

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These preliminary rates showed the average cost of an individual health insurance plan would decrease by 18.2 percent statewide from 2019 rates. Coloradans on the Western Slope pay some of the highest insurance premiums in the country, but the reinsurance program could result in as much as a 29 percent decrease in health insurance premiums in the region.

That reduction could help Western Slope families save almost $9,000 per year, according to the Department of Regulatory Agencies.  Click here for information about the premium changes by the insurance carrier and here for premium changes by area and carrier. The final plans for 2020 will be announced later this year. 

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