Colorado health systems, insurers may be heading to agreement over public option rates

Signs are emerging that both payers and large health systems operating in Colorado are nearing agreement on public health insurance rates, a system that is the brainchild of Gov. Jared Polis, according to a June 7 report in The Colorado Sun.

That's because a public meeting scheduled for June 6, including health systems such as Salt Lake City-based Intermountain Health and Aurora, Colo.-based UCHealth, was postponed at the last minute, signaling possible agreement on what has so far been a lengthy battle between the hospital systems, insurers and government regulators, the report said. Nashville Tenn.-based HCA Healthcare, through its Denver-based HealthOne system, was also due to attend the public hearing meeting, as was insurer Cigna.

Cigna and the health systems filed requests to vacate the June 6 hearing, noting that they had reached a deal that should adequately lower the prices on Cigna's plan for the public health plan called Colorado Option, according to the report.

Insurers have previously said they could not lower prices to make the new rates work, with Cigna directly blaming health systems like Intermountain Health for not helping them reach such targets, as per the report. Such pricing is set to be 10 percent below 2021 rates in 2024 and 15 percent below for 2025, adjusting for inflation.

The insurance plan is seen as particularly aggressive because it could allow local regulators to set hospital prices. Another public hearing is scheduled for June 13 as a follow-up to the claims that deals have been reached.

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