Payers & providers, watch out: Patients want a spot at the negotiating table

Residents of Summit County, Colo., banded together to negotiate health insurance rates with providers and payers, in a model The Colorado Sun calls the first of its kind.

Healthcare in Summit County is expensive compared to other counties similar in size, due in part to ski resorts like Keystone, Breckenridge and Copper Mountain. Families often pay premiums of $2,000 a month for health insurance, according to The Colorado Sun.

Fed up, residents and businesses banded together to create the Peak Health Alliance. Together, these groups approached the local hospital, Centura Health's St. Anthony Summit Medical Center in Frisco, and physician groups to negotiate rates. Then they brought in the payers.

Centura agreed to cut prices by 20 percent if alliance members use more primary care for low-grade health concerns. Premiums are expected to be 15-20 percent lower, which amounts to $400 a month in savings for families paying $2,000 on premiums.

The alliance is also negotiating with Children's Hospital Colorado in Aurora. The alliance has roughly 6,000 members, which is about a fifth of Summit County's full-time residents, according to the report.

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