Peak Health partners with Bright Health carrier through 2021

Peak Health Alliance CEO Tamara Pogue speaks during a Colorado health care forum discussion Feb. 21 at the Summit County Community and Senior Center in Frisco.
Liz Copan /

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to more accurately reflect the nature of Rocky Mountain Health Plans’ partnership with Peak Health Alliance. It has also been updated to correct information about the small-business insurance plan, which is available in all seven counties with Peak Health’s services.

KEYSTONE — Peak Health Alliance, a nonprofit insurance purchasing collaborative, has chosen Bright Health Plan as its 2021 insurance carrier in all seven counties that use its services. 

Bright Health initially partnered with Peak Health to provide insurance plans for individuals, while small groups and businesses in Summit County were using Rocky Mountain Health Plans. Tuesday’s announcement solidifies Bright Health as the nonprofit’s carrier for both individual and small business plans through 2021. 

Businesses who offer Rocky Mountain Health Plans products will be able to renew their plans for 2021, but the nonprofit won’t be taking any new enrollments for that year, Peak Health spokesman David Rossi said in a text message Tuesday evening.

Peak Health CEO Tamara Pogue said Bright Health’s proposal was innovative and showed that the organization knows Summit County well. 

“They came to the table … with plans that really did show a deep understanding of the needs of Summit County residents,” Pogue said. 

The partnership means new plans for Peak’s members. The nonprofit will start offering health insurance options for small businesses and individuals, unlimited zero dollar co-pays for doctor visits and greater behavioral health access with the new partnership, according to a Peak Health news release.

The small-business program is considered an Individual Coverage Health Reimbursement Arrangement plan, which allows employers to pay for their employees’ health insurance premiums through a health reimbursement account that lets employees shop for a product on the individual market, Pogue said. 

“The advantage to the individual market is that, because of reinsurance, premiums are a lot lower,” she said. “For the employer, their dollar will go a lot further.”

The small-business plan will be available in all seven counties where Peak Health offers its services — Summit, Lake, Grand, La Plata, Montezuma, Delores and San Juan.

“We think it will be a very good option for the employers, especially the Summit area and some of the other rural areas,” Bright Health Colorado Market Director Jodie Uhl said. “They take advantage of the reinsurance discounts. So that brings the premium down tremendously for them.”

The partnership also means lower co-pays and broad networks for behavioral health. 

“We appreciate the way that Bright has worked with us to increase reimbursement rates for behavioral health providers because that incentivizes them to actually bill insurance,” Pogue said. “We know that when a provider is part of a carrier’s network for behavioral health, ultimately it makes it more affordable for a consumer to access using their insurance.” 

Uhl said the company partnered with Centura and other providers in Summit County before it first partnered with Peak in 2019. Continuing the partnership through 2021 just made sense, she said.

“We have a great relationship with Peak and Centura as well and their relationship continues through 2020 as well, so it makes sense to continue a product,” Uhl said. 

Uhl said the company hopes to go into multiyear arrangements with Peak. She said it’s important to Bright Health to have a robust local health care network and that Peak is part of achieving that. 

“This helps all of our members up there access their benefits more and gets them the best cost,” she said. “If they can stay local and they have the best rates there, that benefits everyone.”

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