State begins new insurance, health care cost study

May 17, 2016

Credit Colorado Division of Insurance

It’s official: Colorado is going to look at a simpler way of calculating health insurance rates. Gov. John Hickenlooper approved the move Tuesday.

State insurance officials will be studying how much it costs to get health care services around the state, including buying prescription drugs, seeing a doctor, getting surgery or an x-ray, as well as a variety of other services.

“This is a real time crunch,” said Colorado Division of Insurance spokesman Vince Plymell. “Because the report is due Aug. 1. And it’s a lot of data.”

In fact the division is paying for the data, which is from the All Payer Claims Database. Plymell didn’t have a cost estimate Tuesday afternoon. The division is hiring a private firm to help analyze the numbers in time for the August deadline.

Current insurance rates in the Roaring Fork Valley area are some of the highest in the country.

Better understanding of how much it costs to pay for health care around Colorado will help officials pinpoint whether it’s fair to switch the state to one insurance rating area. Such guidelines are a big factor when insurance companies decide how much residents pay in monthly premiums.

Any changes to state insurance rules would happen for 2018 at the earliest.