Colorado Option signature numbers are included. But the debate on the insurance plan supported by Jared Polis is not long.

About 35,000 people signed up for a Colorado Option health insurance plan in the first year of the program, announced Gov. Jared Polis on Tuesday in his State of the State address.

The figure includes about 25,000 people who signed up for a Colorado Option plan through the state’s Connect for Health Colorado exchange. Another 10,000 people signed up through OmniSalud, a new program that offers state health insurance to people who don’t have immigration papers and, therefore, don’t qualify for federal aid available in on the Connect for Health portal.

The number provides some preliminary information to show whether the program, almost two years in the making and a basic health plan for Poland and the Democrats, is successful. But, as expected, the details of the number were divided on Tuesday.

Polis called the numbers “exceeding the original enrollment goal,” and Colorado Insurance Commissioner Michael Conway said in a statement that enrollment “has exceeded my expectations for what we will achieve in our first year.”

The Colorado option is a state insurance plan sold by private insurance companies, which reap both the reward when they do well and the trouble when they don’t. Colorado’s market-based approach to developing public health insurance. Colorado Option plans are currently available only in small areas and individual markets. These are places where small companies buy plans for their employees and there are people who don’t have insurance through the employer shop for their own insurance.

The Colorado Option is expected to provide better than normal coverage, and it needs to be sold at lower-than-average prices, despite being questioned by the critics were successful on both sides.

Exceeded expectations

As of January 10, more than 192,000 people have signed up for a health plan through Connect for Health, according to the exchange. Open registration ended Jan. 15, and the final enrollment numbers are not yet in – which means the enrollment numbers for the Colorado Option and the total amount could still increase. But now, Colorado Option enrollments are about 13% of the total number of signatures on the main exchange.

While the state has not released an estimated number for Colorado Option enrollment, Vince Plymell, a spokesman for the State Insurance, said the agency is expecting about 5% to 7 % of the total number of signatures, so the actual number is the same. double what they say they expected.

“Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised,” Conway said in his statement. “Not only do these plans create more competition in our insurance market, they offer better value to Coloradans, along with more services that lead to better health care.” at no cost or low cost.”

In the support groups that support the Colorado Option, the figures show the value of the plans that are brought to the market.

“It’s no surprise that Colorado won the national process with our CO Option insurance because we gave people what they said they wanted,” said Jake Williams, CEO of Healthier Colorado, in a statement.

Critics have pushed back

But to opponents of the Colorado Option, the numbers of signatures show that the plans are not attractive to the majority of people – even in the state. effort to enjoy the Colorado Option in the market.

The website for Connect for Health Colorado, the state’s health insurance exchange, unveiled in October 2018. (Eric Lubbers, The Colorado Sun)

The first state to have a Colorado Option plan was first revealed in research on Connect for Health. For people who leave the market with an existing health insurance company, the state automatically maps them to a recommended Colorado Option plan, with a lot of work required if they want to choose another. thing. The only plan available through OmniSalud is the Colorado Option plan.

And, while the state said consumers together can save $14.7 million by choosing the cheapest Colorado Option plan available to them instead of automatically renewing their existing plans, Colorado Option plans are generally not the most expensive available to consumers.

“Most Coloradans agree that a nontraditional, private health plan is the best fit for them,” Brandon Arnold, executive vice president of the Colorado Association of Health Plans, said in a statement. information.

“More than 87% of Coloradans are more valuable through Colorado health insurance companies, but efforts can save people money in health care, such as reducing the regulatory burden is gone.”

That opinion is expressed by many insurance agents – people who help customers shop for insurance plans. Meagan Fearing, president of the Colorado State Association of Health Underwriters, a trade group, said Colorado Option plans are often not a good fit for consumers who have worked with other insurers. That’s why he questioned whether the program is worth the effort put into it.

“I would say the numbers are a little higher than we expected,” Fearing said. “But I also say it’s sad that we’re going through all this for a portion of our state’s population.”

Big fights are coming

While there is no legislation to improve the Colorado Option at this stage – at least there is no chance of passing – health insurance prices will remain hot in 2023.

This is the first year the Department of Insurance has had the authority to bring motorists up for a public hearing if their Colorado Option is not priced low. (Insurance companies are required to sell the Colorado Option at progressively lower rates for the first three years of the program — falling 15% below the 2021 rate by 2025, after accounting for the cost.)

Those hearings, in turn, could lead to unprecedented state government regulations — including the ability to tell hospitals how much they can charge for a service, so Colorado Option prices down.

To health care reform advocates, the courts are where the success of the Colorado Option program begins. And the regulatory authority shown in those courts will make the Colorado Option even more attractive to buyers next year.

“Some in our health care system are trying to avoid accountability,” said Adam Fox, deputy director of the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative, which supports the Colorado Option, in a statement. “With this increased transparency, we will ensure that the industry meets the needs of Coloradans, which will make Colorado Option’s plans even more effective next year.”

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