HHS Approves Colorado Section 1332 State Innovation Waiver

According to a June 23 Press releaseThe U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced approval of Colorado’s State Innovation Waiver Section 1332 Amendment Application to create “The Colorado Option,” a health coverage plan specific to Colorado. state that is increasing health coverage enrollment and lowering costs, making insurance more affordable and accessible for approximately 10,000 Coloradans starting in 2023. The release says that “it is designed to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in by providing new coverage options for Coloradans, reflecting the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to advancing health equity.”

The release adds that “Section 1332 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) allows states to seek state innovation waivers to pursue innovative strategies to provide residents with access to affordable coverage and High quality. Colorado is the first in the nation to adopt this waiver to introduce a new, more affordable, state-based health insurance option and leverage federal savings to support state subsidies to improve affordability and benefits. hedging initiatives. Colorado projects that approximately 32,000 Coloradans will obtain health insurance under the amended waiver by 2027, which would represent an increase of approximately 15% in the individual market.

That said, “This Waiver Amendment 1332 implements the Colorado Option, which lowers premiums and health care costs while making it easier for consumers to compare their coverage options and select the best plan that fits. their needs. Starting in 2023, the Colorado option will be available to all Coloradans who enroll in health insurance plans in the individual market (i.e., without going through an employer) and small employers under 100 employees. Colorado Option plans will reduce health insurance premiums for individuals, families and small businesses by up to 15% by 2025.”

The Colorado option will work with the existing Colorado Section 1332 waiver. And, according to the release, the modified waiver will reduce premium costs by an average of $132 per person per month.

Additionally, the Colorado option will cover benefits required by the ACA, including primary care, behavioral health, and prenatal visits at no cost. It will combine standard health ebenfit plans, required premium reductions, and increased government subsidies for those currently eligible and those not currently eligible for federal subsidies under the ACA, with the goal of making coverage more affordable. The Colorado Waiver Plan increases competition by creating premium reduction levels for the Colorado Option and applies enhanced regulatory and programmatic processes as a safety net to ensure providers, hospitals and issuers meet those targets.

“In doing so, the amended waiver will generate savings that the federal government will pass on to the state to implement its waiver (referred to as ‘Federal Transfer Funding’),” the statement continued. “The state will use these savings to implement the amended waiver and make coverage more affordable; this will include providing state-based subsidies through a state program to improve the financial assistance available to Coloradans who enroll in coverage, ultimately increasing access to care in the state . As a result, individual consumers in the market should continue to see lower premiums, which should attract new consumers while keeping current consumers undercover.

HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra was quoted in the statement as saying, “We are thrilled to partner with Colorado in our shared commitment to lowering health care costs and ensuring greater access to quality care and affordable. The Colorado option will help thousands more families sign up for health coverage. . I applaud Governor Jared Polis and encourage all states to seek innovative ways to ensure health care is within reach of their residents.

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