The Daily Sentinel

The confluence of the pending sale of Rocky Mountain Health Plans and the preliminary results of a study of health care costs in Colorado provides some overlapping evidence that competition is the key to affordability.

Rankin, Rep. Millie Hamner, D-Frisco, and Sen. Kerry Donovan, D-Vail, introduced a bill calling for a study by the state Division of Insurance. The study noted the diverse costs among regions without pinpointing an overriding cause or a solution. The short answer, summarized by Ashby, is that rural and mountain communities charge more and have less competition. But forcing all carriers into a single geographic rating area, as opposed to the current nine, isn’t the answer.

Such a move would bring premium costs into closer alignment, but at the expense of lower-cost areas of the state. It could spur insurance companies to exit the state entirely, leaving some residents without any options.

Lawmakers, insurance regulators and consumer health advocates are reluctant to go this route. “We need to strike a balance between helping to lower costs and maintaining a competitive marketplace, and focus more on costs and how patients are using health care,” said Adam Fox, director of strategic engagement for the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative.

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