Colorado officials accused of trying to tip scales in favor of a Jared Polis health insurance policy

Health insurance brokers say the state is interfering in the free market to favor the Colorado Option, potentially at consumers’ expense

John Ingold
The Colorado Sun
Gov. Jared Polis delivers his big idea pitch — about a state-level “public option” health insurance plan — to the audience at The Colorado Sun’s Big Ideas 2020 Forum at the Cable Center on the University of Denver campus on Jan. 14, 2020.
Eric Lubbers/The Colorado Sun

The Colorado Option, the new health insurance program that seeks to give people better coverage at lower prices, is the result of years of work by Democratic lawmakers, state officials and advocacy groups to prove that a more consumer-friendly insurance plan can be a winner in the free market.

But now, health insurance brokers say the state is unfairly trying to tilt that playing field in the Colorado Option’s favor.

The controversy has to do with plans that are being suggested to people who buy health insurance on their own and whose current insurance carriers are leaving the state.

Two carriers — Bright Health and Oscar Health — are pulling out of Colorado for 2023. Combined, around 50,000 people purchased a Bright or Oscar plan this year on Connect for Health Colorado, the state’s online insurance exchange. Those folks will need to pick a new plan with a new insurance company for 2023.

When they log into their account on Connect for Health to make that selection, the platform will give them a “suggested plan” that they can sign up for with only a couple of clicks. Those suggested plans this year are all Colorado Option plans, a request the state Division of Insurance made to Connect for Health officials.


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