March 1, 2022
Contact: Katie Reinisch, 303-653-1009, firstname.lastname@example.org
Adam Fox, 303-563-9108, email@example.com
CCHI asks: “How many of these programs are there? How do they operate? How many Coloradans are paying into them, and how much of their health care costs get paid?”
DENVER – Yesterday, the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative, with bill sponsors Representative Susan Lontine and Senator Chris Hansen, announced the introduction of legislation – HB22-1269 – to protect Coloradans who buy products that they may believe function like health insurance — but don’t.
Health Care Sharing Arrangements (HCSAs) operate without any state oversight and often leave consumers with extreme debt and no legal recourse. They sound appealing to consumers because they can be cheaper than actual insurance, and there’s a reason why.
“Our Consumer Assistance Program has heard from many Coloradans who have paid into these programs thinking that they were paying for insurance, only to have their health care costs denied reimbursement,” said Isabel Cruz, Policy Manager of the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative (CCHI). “Most people end up with no other option but to pay their entire bill out of pocket or rely on charity care programs. Even for services that HCSAs say they cover, there is often a cap on how much they will pay, and there is still no guarantee of any payment at all. That’s why CCHI wants this bill: simply to shed light on how many of these programs there are in Colorado, how these programs do business, how many Coloradans are paying into them, and how much of their health care costs get paid.”
“This bill will increase the transparency of these arrangements at the state level and ensure the state’s consumer protection agencies have the information they need to keep an eye on these below-the-radar entities,” said Representative Susan Lontine. “We’re asking some pretty basic questions about how many people are paying in, how many of these entities there are, how they operate, and how much they are paying out for health care costs.”
The bill has been assigned to the House Health Care & Health Insurance Committee for its first hearing expected in the coming weeks.
Colorado Consumer Health Initiative is a nonpartisan, nonprofit group that represents 40+ Colorado health organizations with more than 500,000 health care consumers advocating for equitable access to high-quality, affordable health care. In 2018, CCHI received the “Get Wise” Consumer Protection award from the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA).