Colorado’s Health Care Future Statement on Conclusion of Legislative Session

May 9, 2023

DENVER — Colorado’s Health Care Future issued the following statement on the conclusion of the 2023 legislative session:

“The Colorado Option is failing. In 2021, Coloradans were promised that the Colorado Option law would lower prices and increase choices. Now that the law has taken effect, new research shows that it is failing to deliver greater affordability and is contributing to health insurers being forced out of our state, threatening access to care for patients. Recent health insurer filings confirm that the aggressive rate setting measures in the law are unlikely to be met in coming years, while nearly every county in Colorado continues to suffer from provider shortages, and nearly nine in 10 Coloradans who shopped for individual coverage in the law’s first year rejected the Colorado Option.

“Given these facts, lawmakers should have used the 2023 legislative session to help fix these problems with the failing Colorado Option law. Instead, lawmakers doubled down by passing HB23-1224 which will further undermine private coverage options and tip the scales even further in favor of Colorado Option plans, limiting Coloradans’ choice of coverage. Following the early failures of the Colorado Option, the Legislature abandoned HB23-1209—a separate bill which would have studied replacing Colorado’s existing health insurance system, including the Colorado Option and employer-sponsored coverage, with a one-size-fits-all ‘single-payer’ system—over growing concerns about a state government takeover of health care.

“The 2023 legislative session cannot be characterized as anything other than a missed opportunity to improve health care for Coloradans. We hope that after another year of rising prices, declining choices, stagnant enrollment, and market upheaval, the legislature will decide to work together in 2024 to expand access to affordable, high-quality health coverage and care for all Coloradans instead of tripling down on the failing Colorado Option law.”

A new analysis conducted by NovaRest, an independent actuarial consulting firm with extensive experience supporting state and federal insurance regulators, highlighted how the Colorado Option has fallen short on the promise to save Coloradans money on their health care. The actuarial analysis demonstrates how this state government-controlled health insurance system is increasing costs, reducing competition in the state’s health insurance market, and driving health care provider shortages that threaten access to care for patients.

Read NovaRest’s actuarial analysis on the Colorado Public Option here.

Read more about Colorado’s Health Care Future here.