House Bill 1168 brings relief to health care woes |

House Bill 1168 brings relief to health care woes

It’s past time that we see relief from unacceptably high health insurance premiums in Colorado’s western and rural communities. For a number of years now, our western counties have held the dubious distinction of paying some of the highest health insurance premiums in the country. Too many of our neighbors, friends and community members who need access to quality health coverage are going without or are struggling to afford it.

House Bill 1168 aims to lower costs for folks purchasing private insurance in the individual insurance market. It would give more Coloradans access to more affordable health care coverage. There is real hope as our state legislature considers creating a reinsurance program for the private insurance market through this bill, which is co-sponsored by Sen. Bob Rankin.

There is bipartisan support for this bill in both houses as it works its way through the state Senate for final consideration. This type of legislation has a proven track record. Reinsurance, which helps insurers cover the highest cost claims, is a system that is being used in a number of other states, like Alaska, where it has led to reductions in premiums for two consecutive years. Will reinsurance be a silver bullet for our health care affordability woes? No. In the future, Colorado will need to do much more in order to control health care and prescription drug costs. But this bill will provide some immediate and much needed relief, especially for rural communities.

Paula Stepp, Bob Semro and Bob Shivley

Members, Western and Rural Colorado Health Care Coalition