Summit County’s health care purchasing collaborative Peak Health Alliance chooses insurance carriers |

Summit County’s health care purchasing collaborative Peak Health Alliance chooses insurance carriers

The Peak Health Alliance has chosen Rocky Mountain Health Plans and Bright Health as its employer group and individual group insurance carriers, respectively.

The Peak Health Alliance, the state’s first-of-its-kind health care purchasing collaborative created in Summit County, has announced that it has finished rounding up health insurance partners who will provide plans to Peak Health members once the initiative goes live next year. After reviewing bids, Peak Health has chosen Grand Junction-based Rocky Mountain Health Plans as its carrier for employer group plans, and Minnesota-based Bright Health as its individual insurance carrier.

In its request for proposals, Peak Health asked carriers to include standardized benefit plans, care provider networks and fee schedules in their proposals to ensure a fair comparison among different carriers.

“RMHP and Bright Health stood out from their peers in their commitment to Peak’s mission of helping residents of Summit County have access to high-quality, lower-cost health care,” Peak Health Alliance stated in a press release.

Signing the insurance carriers is another major component to assuring the viability of Peak Health, which intends to lower health care costs by representing Summit consumers at the negotiating table with providers and insurance carriers. Costs for Summit consumers are expected to decrease by up to 20% with rates Peak Health has negotiated with providers and carriers, and up to 35% with the added impact of the state’s recently signed health reinsurance law.

“Although final rates need to be filed and approved by the Commissioner of Insurance, we are incredibly pleased that in 2020 residents of Summit County should have access to products that will be about 20% less than current market offerings,” said Mark Spiers, chairman of Peak’s board of directors and president of the board for the Summit Foundation, which is a primary sponsor for the Peak Health Alliance.

In April, Peak Health had already negotiated a contract to make Centennial-based Centura Health, owner of St. Anthony Summit Medical Center, the primary health provider and delivery system partner for the plan.

Peak Health, along with its partners, promises it will provide its small and large business and individual members with full health coverage that will have “innovative coverage features that will improve access and reduce the cost of care.”

“We will be offering greatly improved access to primary care and mental health services and are really pleased at how willing Rocky Mountain Health Plans and Bright Health were to embrace these efforts,” said Tamara Drangstveit, incoming executive director of Peak Health and current executive director of the Family & Intercultural Resource Center.

“We look forward to our collaboration with Peak Health Alliance to help reduce health care costs for our fellow Coloradans in Summit County,” said Michelle Walker, Rocky Mountain Health Plan’s associate vice president of commercial sales and product development.

“Bright Health is proud to be the plan of choice for Peak Health Alliance individuals who do not receive health insurance from an employer,” said Bob Sheehy, CEO of Bright Health. “Peak’s commitment to creating a model that delivers high quality, cost effective care is directly in line with Bright Health’s mission. We look forward to working with Peak and with our longtime partner, Centura, to make health care simpler, personal and more affordable to all Coloradans.”

The nonprofit Peak Health Alliance was formed in Summit County as a response to staggering health care costs for Summit and Western Slope residents, who pay among the highest premiums in the nation.

The alliance brings together Summit County’s small and large employers, as well as individuals, into a single negotiating bloc to bargain with providers and insurance carriers for lower care and insurance costs. Previously, individuals and employers were left to negotiate rates on their own with little to no leverage at the bargaining table.

Peak’s health care purchasing collaborative model was blessed by the state for use elsewhere when Gov. Jared Polis signed SB19-004, Address High-Cost Health Insurance Pilot Program, into law last week cleaning up existing statutory language to make it easier for other communities to form their own purchasing collaboratives.

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