MEDIA RELEASE
Wed. June 3, 2020
Contact: Adam Fox, 303-563-9108, [email protected]

(June 3, 2020, DENVER) – Members of the State Finance Committee have taken the first steps to create more affordable access to health care in the middle of a global pandemic. They advanced a measure that would continue Colorado’s successful reinsurance program as well as expand access to more affordable health insurance for thousands of Coloradans who purchase their insurance on the individual marketplace. The proposal does this by continuing an expiring federal fee on insurance companies at the state level and will not cost the state any money.

Senate Bill 215 passed the Senate Finance Committee on a 4 to 3 vote. It will now advance to the Appropriations committee.

The proposal continues a federal fee on insurance carriers set to expire this year and reinvests that fee – with no cost to the state general fund — and improves insurance affordability in three ways:

  1. Continue Colorado’s successful reinsurance program, which lowered premiums for those purchasing on the individual market by 20 percent in its first year, for an additional five years;
  2. Make insurance more affordable for individual-market consumers that don’t benefit from reinsurance, namely lower income Coloradans that receive federal subsidies under the ACA;
  3. Create affordable health insurance options for people left out of the Affordable Care Act, including individuals in the “family glitch” and those with problems with their documentation.

This bill would help all Coloradans by stabilizing the health insurance market and providing additional support to make individual market insurance plans more affordable. Also helped will be the 250,000 individuals and families who purchase their health insurance on the individual market through the continuation of the state’s reinsurance program. This bill will also provide increased purchasing power for tens of thousands of Coloradans who receive tax credits to help with the cost of their insurance coverage, but for whom coverage remains expensive and often carries high deductibles. In addition, it will further expand coverage to thousands of Coloradans who have been left out of the Affordable Care Act including people in the “family glitch,” which ties what is considered affordable employer coverage to the cost of the employee, rather than factoring in the much higher cost of covering the entire family. Finally, some Coloradans who provide vital services for our communities but lack proper documentation could also be helped.

Statements from supporting organizations on the passage:

Colorado Children’s Campaign:
The Colorado Children’s Campaign is committed to ensuring every Coloradan has access to high quality and affordable health care. We applaud the legislature for prioritizing health insurance access and protection of health insurance in the face of the Coronavirus pandemic and unprecedented state budget cuts. We believe the expansion of affordable health care is critical to protecting the health of our families and our state. SB215 is an encouraging and necessary step towards ensuring every chance for every Coloradans. To learn more visit our website here.
-Erin Miller, Vice President, Health Initiatives

Colorado Consumer Health Initiative:
Now more than ever it is clear that we all need the ability to stay healthy, have health insurance, and access care when we need it. SB215 builds on Colorado’s bipartisan successes and expands affordable health insurance for Coloradans using the individual market. As thousands of Coloradans have lost their employment or income because of COVID, and in many cases lost their health insurance too, this bill is vital to ensuring we can keep as many Coloradans covered as possible and protect the health of our entire state.
-Adam Fox, Director of Strategic Engagement

Healthier Colorado:
Even with a pandemic and massive budget shortfall, affordable healthcare must always be a priority. SB20-215 is a prime example of how affordable health insurance can be achieved, even when resources are scarce. Reinsurance was a bipartisan success that directly benefited the people of Colorado. I am thrilled that we have a solution to keep the program alive and insurance costs down.
-Jake Williams, Executive Director

The Colorado Children’s Campaign is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization committed since 1985 to realizing every chance for every child in Colorado. We advocate for the development and implementation of data-driven public policies that improve child wellbeing in health, education and early childhood. We do this by providing Coloradans with trusted data and research on child wellbeing and organizing an extensive state-wide network of dedicated child advocates. For more information, please visit www.coloradokids.org. 

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).

Healthier Colorado is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to raising the voices of Coloradans in the public policy process to improve the health of our state’s residents. We believe that every Coloradan should have a fair chance at living a healthy life.

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