ICYMI: New Federal Legislation Helps Ensure Coloradans’ Access To Affordable Health Care

Sep 7, 2022

DENVER – In the latest example of how our current health care system is working to expand access to affordable, high-quality health coverage and care, President Joe Biden recently signed legislation that extends the Affordable Care Act (ACA) subsidies enacted in the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) for another three years. The subsidies were set to expire at the end of 2022, but now millions of Americans who purchase health insurance through marketplace exchanges will continue to save on their premiums. 

In a statement, Kevin Patterson, the chief executive officer of Connect for Health Colorado, said: 

“I’m grateful and extremely excited to plan for the three-year extension of additional savings for our customers. In Colorado, these enhanced subsidies lowered costs for 155,000 enrollees, reduced their average out-of-pocket costs by $900 per year and resulted in increased enrollments in rural communities across our state. I hope that the more than 200,000 Coloradans who rely on us to afford health insurance and get the health care they need can rest easier knowing this level of financial help will continue for years to come.” 

The extension of ACA subsidies is a reminder of how our current health care system is working to improve access to health coverage and care. According to Connect for Health Colorado, more residents have used the marketplace to enroll in a health insurance plan than ever before once enhanced subsidies started being provided in April of 2021. Approximately 74 percent of enrollees are qualifying for financial help to cover the cost of their plan.

Last year, Colorado politicians rushed to enact the Colorado Option despite experts cautioning against it and opposition from the medical community, patients and other key stakeholders. The state is now moving to implement its state government-controlled health insurance system following the approval of Colorado’s 1332 waiver in June. 

A recent report from the Common Sense Institute warns that the Colorado Option is simply unaffordable and unsustainable, as its artificial premiums are likely to increase costs for Coloradans who depend on employer provided coverage, decrease access to quality care for patients and lead to pay cuts for the state’s medical providers. 

Another analysis, prepared by independent actuarial firm NovaRest, also outlines serious potential risks to Coloradans’ access to affordable, high-quality health coverage and care under the Colorado Option. NovaRest finds that the implementation of this new state government-controlled health insurance system could disrupt Colorado’s health coverage market – significantly impacting access to coverage choices for everyone. 

Rather than starting over by creating an unaffordable, new government-controlled health insurance system like the Colorado Option, policymakers should build on and improve what’s working in our current system to lower health care costs, expand access and improve quality.  

Read more on Colorado’s Health Care Future HERE.