Emily Boerger, State of Reform

Lowering health care costs is a common theme in the Colorado legislature this year, with bills related to pricing transparency, surprise billing, and establishing a reinsurance program all with momentum in the legislature.

Results from a recent poll by the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative (CCHI) and the Health Care Value Hub of Altarum support the need for cost lowering initiatives. In the survey, 970 Colorado adults reported on the most significant problems and barriers they face within the current healthcare system. Overall, the survey results show that Coloradans across the state are concerned with health care costs.

According to the survey’s affordability brief, 58 percent of respondents experienced health care affordability burdens in the past year. Half of adults who needed health care also ran into one or more cost barriers, and used the following “health care shortcuts”:

  • 39%—Delayed going to the doctor or having a procedure done
  • 34%—Avoided going altogether to the doctor or having a procedure done
  • 33%—Skipped a recommended medical test or treatment
  • 22%—Did not fill a prescription
  • 20%—Cut pills in half or skipped doses of medicine
  • 18%—Had problems getting mental healthcare

Of note, 39 percent of Colorado adults struggled to pay their medical bills, and 62 percent of uninsured adults said that the cost of coverage was the main reason they didn’t have insurance.

Sixty-eight percent of respondents also said they were “worried” or “very worried” about not being able to afford future health care costs.

Part of the survey also focused specifically on affordability of prescription drugs in Colorado. Here, 53 percent of adults reported being either “worried” or “very worried” about prescription drug costs, with 20 percent of respondents stating that it was “difficult” or “extremely difficult” to afford their prescription drugs.

In relation to prescription drug pricing policy options, 90 percent of responders said the attorney general should “take legal action to prevent price gouging or unfair prescription drug price hikes,” and that the government should show what a “fair price” is for certain medical procedures and require drug companies to provide advance notice of price increases.

In January, Governor Jared Polis signed an executive order to establish the Office of Saving People Money on Health Care, demonstrating that the issue of health care costs is a priority for the executive branch.

“Traveling across the state, we consistently heard from Coloradans about the rising costs of health care,” said Governor Jared Polis in a press release. “While we have made significant progress in expanding access to care in Colorado, there is still much work left to do to reduce costs.”

See the original article here. 


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