At the Legislature: Public Option Health Insurance

One of the most talked-about bills this session concerns a proposal for the creation of a state public option health benefit plan. So what exactly is the public option? According to a report issued by the Division of Insurance, “The public option is a new insurance plan maximizing public and private industry strengths, designed by Colorado, for Colorado.The plan will be sold by licensed insurance companies and will cover a comprehensive, standardized set of benefits. The public option will provide Coloradans with more affordable, high-value coverage.”

House Bill 21-1232, Standardized Health Benefit Plan Colorado Option, was introduced last week and will be heard in the House Health & Insurance Committee tomorrow, March 26. The bill would require premiums to be reduced by 20% in the next two years. A similar bill was introduced last year, but it was set aside due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, lawmakers are giving it another attempt. The public option is supported by Governor Polis as part of his Roadmap to Saving Coloradans Money on Health Care. However, the bill has sparked a great deal of discussion because of questions on how it will affect the healthcare and insurance industries; rural Coloradans; minority communities; and others.

You can follow the progress of the bill on the legislature’s website. To listen to an audio broadcast of tomorrow’s committee hearing, go to the Health & Insurance Committee page and click on “Committee Audio.”