National and State Leaders Celebrate Colorado’s Premium-Slashing Reinsurance Program

Friday, August 2, 2019

DENVER - Following Gov. Polis’ announcement that Colorado received approval from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for a bipartisan reinsurance program to reduce health care premiums on the individual market by an average of 18.2 percent, federal, state, and local officials along with health care experts from across the state praised the innovative program that will save Coloradans money on their health care costs. 

Gov. Polis has made reducing health care costs a top priority for his administration.

Here’s what they’re saying:

Seema Verma, Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services: “As a result of this waiver approval, more consumers in Colorado may have coverage and premiums will be lower. Leaders across the state including Governor Polis, Senators Gardner and Bennet, the state’s entire congressional delegation, and the Colorado Insurance Commissioner have been passionate about the need to lower Colorado’s health care costs. This is another example of states taking the opportunity to improve their markets.” 

Matt Scherr & Jeanne McQueeney, Eagle County Commissioners: “Eagle County residents pay some of the highest health care costs in the entire nation, but thankfully help is now on the way. Thanks to the reinsurance program championed by Governor Polis and the state legislature, Eagle County families who buy their own insurance can expect to see an average 29.1 percent decrease in their premiums next year. That’s an average monthly savings of $748 for a family of four -- a tremendous amount of money that families can use on rent, mortgage, groceries, utilities, recreation, savings for college or retirement, or anything else in the family budget. And when families have more money to put back into our local economy, the economy grows and everyone wins.”

Rich Cimino, Grand County Commissioner: “Hardworking families in the high country have been getting squeezed by sky-high premiums, and we are glad that our representatives at the state level have made reducing health care costs a top priority. Grand County families will be excited to hear that premiums on the individual market will be going down by an average of almost 30 percent next year, thanks to a new bipartisan reinsurance program championed by Gov. Polis and Democrats and Republicans in the legislature. I was glad to testify in favor of this program earlier this year because I knew it would be a lifeline to our residents, and we are all breathing a sigh of relief that more affordable health premiums are officially the way.” 

Tamara Drangstviet, CEO of Peak Health Alliance: “For years, we have known that Summit County residents pay some of the highest health care costs in the entire nation. It’s why we set up the Peak Health Alliance to negotiate for better rates, because we knew that an innovative, local solution would help us deal with our health care crisis. Now we are getting real relief on the local and state level, thanks to the leadership of Governor Polis and a bipartisan group of legislators committed to reducing health care costs. This new reinsurance program will help Summit County families who buy their own insurance save around $750 each month on average -- an amount that can transform the lives of so many of our friends and neighbors. This is a huge step in the right direction, and we look forward to working with Governor Polis and the legislature on delivering health care solutions that will lower costs for families in our area.” 

Adela Flores-Brennan, Executive Director of the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative: “We are grateful for Governor Polis and the state legislature for underscoring that if we believe health care is a human right, we need to do more to make it affordable to everyone. This reinsurance program will save Coloradans buying their own insurance hundreds of dollars per month and thousands of dollars per year. When health care is cheaper, more people can get covered, which is a key to helping them access needed care and saves costs across the system. This governor and this legislature took bold bipartisan steps this year to provide relief to families struggling with high health care costs, and we are thankful that these efforts are producing real cost savings for Coloradans.” 

Sharon O’Hara, Advisor, Chronic Care Collaborative: “Too many Colorado residents -- especially those with chronic diseases and acute illnesses -- are paying too much for health care or go without because they can’t afford it. This reinsurance program will bring down premium rates for consumers on the individual market and will help more people gain coverage. And when more people are covered, everyone saves money, because the cost of uncompensated care doesn’t get passed on in the form of higher premiums. Kudos to the Governor and the state legislature for getting this done and bringing down the cost of care for Colorado families. 

Jake Williams, Executive Director of Healthier Colorado: “At Healthier Colorado, our mission is to fight for policies that ensure that all Coloradans have a better chance at living a healthy life, and affordable access to health care is essential to realizing that opportunity. This new reinsurance program is welcome news, as it makes health care more affordable for hundreds of thousands of Coloradans, and puts health care in reach for thousands more. We are incredibly thankful for the work of our state legislators from both sides of the aisle, as well as the leadership of the Polis administration, to deliver real health care savings for hardworking Colorado families.”