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Groups Stand Up for Colorado Health Insurance Marketplace

Health-care advocates are protesting a move to repeal Colorado's health-insurance marketplace, which helps consumers navigate enrollment. (Pixabay)
Health-care advocates are protesting a move to repeal Colorado's health-insurance marketplace, which helps consumers navigate enrollment. (Pixabay)
January 31, 2017

DENVER – Groups are gathering on the steps of the state Capitol today to protest efforts by some lawmakers to repeal Connect for Health Colorado, the state's health-insurance marketplace.

Adam Fox, the director of strategic engagement of the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative says the move would limit Coloradans' access to health coverage, noting the marketplace helped more than 200,000 Coloradans sign up for private health insurance in 2016 and is seeing record numbers of people enrolling this year.

"And if that goes away, Colorado will lose control of this enrollment system and many of the supports that had been created and customized for Coloradans," he said.

Connect for Health Colorado created a statewide network to help people navigate enrollment in person and helps consumers track which policies cover a particular doctor or prescription drug. Critics of the marketplace claim the costs are unsustainable, but Fox argues Colorado would have to spend millions transitioning to the federal Healthcare.gov system.

Senate Bill 3, sponsored by Senators Jim Smallwood and Patrick Neville, both from Douglas County, would give the marketplace a year to wind down business and turn over any remaining money to the state treasurer. Fox says closing the exchange would take control of the insurance market away from the state, leaving Coloradans subject to the whims of Congress as they debate how to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

"If we were to repeal Colorado's marketplace, it really leaves Coloradans no resource for transparent shopping and comparison of health insurance," he added.

He says bipartisan stakeholders recommended creating a state insurance marketplace long before Obamacare was passed. The Repeal Colorado Health Benefit Exchange bill was set to be considered today by the Senate's Finance Committee, but is likely to be rescheduled for next week.

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - CO