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Pitkin County Tackles Pricey Health Insurance Problem

Apr 15, 2014

According to Kaiser Health News, the most expensive health insurance market in the country is in Colorado's high country. Pitkin County would like to see solutions to what they see as an inequitable problem.
Credit Creative Commons/Flickr/401(K) 2012

Pitkin County staff and elected leaders will meet with the State’s top insurance official this week about pricey health insurance. A Kaiser Health News report says Colorado’s “rating area eleven” that covers Pitkin, Eagle, Garfield and Summit Counties, is the most expensive insurance market in the country. Pitkin County Manager Jon Peacock says they’d like to see solutions.

"When you look at average earnings per job in rating area eleven, they’re 24 percent below the average earnings per job in Colorado. In Pitkin County, that number’s 10 percent less. But, the exchange rates in rating area eleven are the most expensive in the nation, so there’s a real disconnect."

County Commissioner Rachel Richards will join Peacock and the county’s health and human services director in a meeting Wednesday. They will meet with Insurance Commissioner Marguerite Salazar and Susan Birch, the director of Colorado’s Department of Health Care Policy and Financing. The gathering, in Breckenridge, will also include representatives from Summit and Eagle counties. Peacock says Pitkin County would like to see short and long-term solutions for those facing high costs. These are patients who don’t qualify for insurance tax subsidies or expanded Medicaid.