At CCHI we strive to change the systems through which Coloradans access, afford, receive, and pay for healthcare through our engagement in policy work. We view this system level work as essential for achieving our vision; a Colorado where all people have access to high-quality, affordable health care free from barriers like confusing medical billing, and incomplete coverage.
The experiences and voices of Coloradans who are most impacted by challenges in our current health care system are centered in our work. We collaborate with both our member organizations and individuals to amplify the experiences of Coloradans in the policy making process.
Where we work:
As a Colorado-based organization we primarily work on state level policy. Occasionally our involvement in national-level health care conversations takes us to the federal capitol.
Our Recent Work:
Access and Coverage
While the Affordable Care Act has helped many Coloradans obtain health insurance, we know there are persistent systemic issues that hinder access to health services and cause Coloradans to avoid needed care. Patients should be able to access whole-person, culturally fluent care in their communities in a timely fashion without worrying about what it will cost.
Colorado Option / OmniSalud In 2021, CCHI led the passage of HB21-1232 establishing new standardized insurance plans that focus on addressing inequity by setting rate reduction targets and providing key services without cost-sharing, such as primary, behavioral, and perinatal health care. Additionally, the bill creates pathways for undocumented Coloradans and DACA recipients to safely obtain Colorado Option health insurance plans through the OmniSalud Program. Learn more about our work on Colorado Option here.
Cover All Coloradans In 2022, we supported HB22-1289 which establishes coverage for children and pregnant people who would be eligible to receive medicaid or the children’s basic health plan if it were not for their immigration status. To learn more about Cover All Coloradans click here.
Network Adequacy Insurance companies have a history of restricting the network of providers consumers can access through a plan as a way to keep costs to the insurer down. We are dedicated to continued enforcement of the network adequacy standards set in 2016, as well as seeking to update these stipulations in order to best align with consumer health needs.
Prescription Drug Affordability Prescription drug costs for consumers continue to be an issue for Coloradans. In 2021, CCHI worked to pass SB21-175, which created the Prescription Drug Affordability Review Board. We continue to monitor the board, mobilize consumers and coalition partners to participate, and provide recommendations to guarantee that the board works to reduce prescription drug costs for the broadest reach of Coloradans.
Our current profit-driven health care system is unaffordable, unsustainable, and inequitable. The U.S. has higher per capita expenditures and worse health outcomes than international peers, and these systemic failings disproportionately weigh on consumers who face the biggest barriers to health care. We work to challenge and transform these financial systems in order to transform our health care system into one that supports holistic, population health with equitable access to care throughout the state and a focus on prevention.
Medicaid Expansion and Safety Net Care We amplify the consumer voice on the Colorado Healthcare Affordability and Sustainability Enterprise to inform the ongoing implementation of Medicaid expansion and ensure hospitals are held accountable for providing care to all those in need at a fair price. To learn more click here.
Health Insurance Affordability Enterprise We are actively involved in the work of Colorado’s Health Insurance Affordability Enterprise which focuses on creating sustainable funding pathways for essentially individual market programing like OmniSalud, the availability of subsidies, and more. To learn about the enterprise click here.
Rate Review As an organization which began in the private insurance reform space, CCHI has continued the detailed work of tracking how insurers are setting rates, how they justify their business choices, and actively calling for accountability when affordable rates are not prioritized.
Industry Abuses and Consumer Protections
Coloradans should not face financial hardship because they have received health care services or be dissuaded from seeking care due to fear of financial hardship. CCHI works to protect consumers from health care industry practices that jeopardize the health and financial security of Colorado families.
Facility Fees As more providers are absorbed into large, corporate health care systems, “facility fees” are being tacked onto an increasing variety of services at more locations, driving up the cost of health care at the expense of the consumer. In 2023, CCHI led a coalition to pass a bill that initiated a steering committee tasked with conducting a study to better understand the impact of facility fees on health care access, establish patient-facing transparency measures, and limit facility fees for preventative services.
Hospital Discounted Care In 2021, CCHI helped pass HB21-1198 which streamlined statewide eligibility and notice standards for discounted care from hospitals in Colorado. The bill also stipulated billing protections, payment plan guidelines, and screening requirements for eligibility for discounted care. For more information visit our HB21-1198 webpage.
Medical Debt Collections In 2023, we supported the passage of HB23-1126, which removed medical debt from credit reports, and SB23-093, which strengthened protections for consumers in the medical debt collection space. These bills are a crucial step in interrupting the cycle of receiving unaffordable bills for necessary health services, cutting back or struggling to access basic necessities to due to medical debt, and then having additional health issues appear due to lack of nutritious food, stable housing, and additional necessities for living a well life.
Surprise Billing In 2019, CCHI led the passage of essential legislation that prevented most health care providers and facilities from tacking on surprise charges to consumer bills. These statewide protections are now complemented by federal standards outlined in the No Surprises Act. We remain dedicated to overseeing proper implementation of these protections and continuing policy work to fill in any gaps left unaddressed.
Social Determinants of Health
Structural barriers based on race, ethnicity, income, LGBTQ status, and age among others, prevent individuals from getting the health care they need and deserve. We work toward health equity by addressing systems of oppression and barriers that lead to disparate health outcomes.
Alternative Sentencing In 2023 we supported the passage of HB23-1187 which established pregnancy as a reason to request deferred or alternative sentencing. By prioritizing the mental and physical health of pregnant people, HB23-1187 encourages better health outcomes for parents and children.
Rental Protections As stable housing is an key component of health, in 2023 we supported the passage of SB23-184 which increased protections for renters from excessive rental screenings, unjust evictions and other practices which threaten tenant housing stability.
Tax Credits In 2023 we supported the passage of HB23-1112 which nearly doubled the state’s earned income tax credit and increased the child tax credit proportional to income level. This bill actively puts money back in the hands of Colorado individuals and families, especially those who need support affording food, rent, transportation, health care and other basic needs.
Workforce and Delivery
Barriers and cracks in the workforce pipeline are harming patient access to quality care, particularly for Coloradans who are most marginalized. Patients should have primary care medical homes with team-based care and a range of providers who are culturally fluent and a health care workforce that has been grown from the community.
Community Health Workers Community health workers (CHWs) are trusted members of the community who facilitate connections between health care and social service systems and improve the quality and cultural fluency of service delivery. In 2023 we supported the passage of SB23-002 which allows for medicaid reimbursement for community health services, as one crucial step in working towards compensating CHWs for vital health services work that has long been undervalued by our healthcare system.
Coverage for Doula Services In 2023 we supported the passage of SB3-288 which sought to address Colorado’s maternal health crisis by expanding Medicaid reimbursement to include coverage for Doulas as well as set aside money for further research into the issue. Expanding the array of covered services allows more patient choice, and consequently comfort, in the birthing process as well as compensates Doulas for their crucial and valuable work.
Direct Care Workforce Direct care workers are a critical though systemically undervalued component of our health care system. Despite the critical nature of their jobs, the 2022 medium wage for direct care workers was $15.43 meaning many are living in or near poverty. We seek to support policies that increase compensation for, elevate the needs of, and value the expertise of direct care workers as a hugely important pillar of person centered care.