Last month, Democratic Gov. Jared Polis signed House Bill 21-1232, a piece of healthcare legislation that gives capitol politicians even more power over how much we’re spending on healthcare. While designed to reduce healthcare costs by as much as 15%, the logic behind the bill is shaky at best, and if anything, it’s going to make things even worse.
Now, I’m all about lowering the price of healthcare. In fact, that’s our overarching mission at ColoHealth. But trusting this task to a group of politicians that couldn’t pass ECON 101 is a huge mistake.
True healthcare freedom comes from empowering the people, not regulatory boards. Colorado’s new legislation may have already been signed into law, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t do anything about it.
What is the Colorado Option? Colorado’s state-regulated health insurance plan
House Bill 21-1232, known as the “Colorado Standardized Health Benefit Plan Act” (also the Colorado Option), was signed on June 16th, 2021. The legislation aims to reduce healthcare premiums over the course of a few years by forcing insurance companies to offer a state-regulated plan option.
- The state-regulated plan will be designed by CO politicians, including which benefits are covered
- The legislation sets specific premium reduction targets of:
- 6% by 2023
- 12% by 2024
- 10% by 2025
- If insurance companies are unable to hit these targets, state regulators can force doctors and hospitals to bear the brunt of the cost
- Rural hospitals and clinics are at highest risk of financial burden, which could reduce options for many Coloradans
Why healthcare price controls like the Colorado Option never work
Like I said before, I am in support of anything that is actually going to bring healthcare prices down for my clients. But if history is any indicator, price-fixing is simply not the way to do it. It’s basic economics: If you increase demand, prices go up. But when you force prices down, the supply goes down with it.
Consider the Arab oil embargo of 1973-1974. Back then, the U.S. Cost of Living Council forced retail gas stations to charge less for gas. Way less than what the healthy market economy could bear. The result was that the inventory totally disappeared, and Americans suffered.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re talking about gasoline or health insurance. If you want lower prices for Americans, the best way to do that is to let retailers compete in the open market. Consumers already want lower premiums and better benefits … Increasing government regulation is only going to make things worse.
Government regulation of healthcare means less options, lower quality
The Colorado Standardized Health Benefit Plan Act poses a unique threat to not only Coloradans, but also individuals and families across the country.
Once it becomes obvious that the health insurance companies can’t hit their target reductions, the legislators will have free reign to go after the providers themselves. Do you know what that means?
- Rural hospitals will be forced to close or relocate
- Providers will be less likely to open in low-income areas
- High-quality medical care will be harder to find in CO
Just like the gasoline in ’74, our medical options will be forcibly reduced, and the quality of care is going to go down.
Forget the Colorado Option, let’s save consumer-driven healthcare
Unless there are some big changes in the Colorado legislature, our health plan options are going to get slimmer and slimmer.
Remember: Choosing the right healthcare plan is not only your right, but it’s also one of the only ways to make your voice known to the people that matter. Your Personal Benefits Manager (PBM) can help you find a plan that fits, and give you the tools you need to take back healthcare power from the federal and state government.
Health care sharing plans: The healthcare option that the government doesn’t want you to know about
There are a lot of people in our country who have a hard time paying for health insurance. For people who don’t qualify for a subsidy, health insurance costs are so steep that many of them are deciding to simply go without insurance.
Healthshare plans are an innovative, legal, and low-cost alternative to health insurance. Operated by private Health Care Sharing Ministries (HCSMs), these plans are free from the rampant government overreach that has infected the health insurance industry.
With any luck, as more Americans switch to health sharing, legislators will realize that we’re not willing to give up our healthcare independence without a fight.
You don’t have to wait for 2025 to get better health insurance rates
At this moment, rates are pretty darn good for Colorado health insurance plans, especially with the recently expanded subsidies. So don’t wait until 2025 to see what the state legislature has done to our healthcare system.
Call your PBM at 800-913-6381 to set up a no-cost appointment, or click here to run a quote on a Colorado health insurance plan.
Here is some additional information related to this article: Colorado Healthshare Plan Information | Colorado Guide to Health Insurance and Health Sharing Programs
Leslie Jablonski is a Personal Benefits Manager at ColoHealth. Her aim is to help you make smart and informed healthcare coverage decisions that will fit your needs and budget. Read more about Leslie on her Bio page.