ICYMI: New Analysis: Colorado Option Harms Health Care Market, Fails To Deliver Promised Savings

Nov 18, 2022

DENVER – In case you missed it, a new analysis by the Common Sense Institute (CSI) finds that Colorado’s government-controlled health insurance system, known as the Colorado Option, is decreasing competition and failing to deliver the health care savings that politicians promised.

Key findings include:

  • The approved 2023 individual and small-group premiums are higher than 2022’s, on average, by 10.4% and 7.4%, respectively. The rate hikes are likely to be especially high in rural Colorado, where health insurance is most expensive.
  • Colorado Option plans will not be the least expensive plans available in 2023.
  • The Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) indicates that consumers could save $326 million on health insurance, but more than 90% of those savings already exist, and the Colorado Option savings are only hypothetical.
  • The savings estimates count the impacts of policies that have reduced prices but not those that have increased prices. Due in part to these policies, the average 2023 benchmark premium in Colorado will be 8.3% more expensive than it was in 2022 – nearly double the national average growth rate of 4.2%.
  • Health care providers may be forced to choose between cutting services and passing on costs by raising prices for most insured Coloradans.

CSI’s analysis also highlights the fact that four insurance carriers have partially or completely left the Colorado market, forcing tens of thousands of Coloradans to find new coverage and potentially lose access to their preferred providers. The analysis warns that when stricter price controls come into force in 2024 and 2025, even more plans and carriers may be forced out of the state.

When you look closer, it’s clear the Colorado Option is falling far short of the affordable health care coverage politicians promised when they sold this one-size-fits-all system to Coloradans. Instead of moving forward with this flawed system, policymakers should prioritize building on and improving the system that is already working to help deliver access to affordable, high-quality health care across the state.

Read CSI’s full analysis HERE.

Learn more about Colorado’s Health Care Future HERE.