During the 2019 legislative session that concluded on May 3, the Colorado General Assembly was active in debating health care. As promised during the 2018 campaigns, the new leadership at the State Capitol wanted to address rising health care costs. While none of the bills directly impact PERACare, there were several bills that will change the health care landscape in Colorado.
For more details on PERA legislation, see 2019 legislative session adjourns “sine die”
A summary of health care-related legislation is below. The most recent bill status is included in the summary. For more details on these bills, please use the links in each brief.
- SB 19-004 – Address High-Cost Health Insurance Pilot Program
Signed into law by Governor Polis on May 17, this legislation is designed to mitigate the higher cost of health care insurance in the rural and mountain areas of the state through the use of health care coverage cooperatives.
- SB 19-005 – Import Prescription Drugs from Canada
This bill was signed by Governor Polis on May 16 and allows for the design and implementation of a wholesale drug importation program for the exclusive benefit of Colorado residents that would provide Colorado consumers access to safe and less expensive prescription drugs.
- HB 19-1004 – Proposal for Affordable Health Coverage Option
The Division of Insurance is tasked with developing a proposal that considers the feasibility and cost of a state option for the delivery of health care insurance. Requirements are that the plan leverage the current state health care infrastructure and that it improve quality and access to health insurance. The Division of Insurance must submit a recommendation to the General Assembly’s Joint Budget Committee on or before November 15, 2019. This bill was signed into law on May 16.
- HB 19-1168 – State Innovation Waiver Reinsurance Program
The goal of this legislation, signed into law by Governor Polis on May 17, is to make private health insurance that is available on the individual market more accessible and more affordable by encouraging competition by carriers throughout the state.The desired outcome would be to decrease the costs of care.
- HB 19-1176 – Health Care Cost Savings Act of 2019
This bill has been sent to the Governor. It would create a task force to analyze health care financing systems and provide the General Assembly with information to better understand how to provide adequate health care to Colorado residents.
- HB 19-1174 – Out-of-network Health Care Services
This bill was signed into law by the Governor on May 14. The law aims to better protect health care consumers by ending surprise medical bills when out-of-network medical services are used.
While it remains to be seen what impact, if any, the above legislation will have on health care costs in the state, PERA staff will continue to monitor the health care landscape and any potential effects on PERACare.
The Second Regular Session of the 72nd General Assembly is scheduled to convene on January 8, 2020. Stay tuned to PERA on the Issues for updates throughout the interim.