The rising cost of health insurance in Colorado is major cause for concern. Health insurance premiums rose 50% between 2008 and 2017, according to the Colorado Division of Insurance. The Colorado State Senate passed 6 new bills aimed at reducing costs but residents still report that it’s hard to find affordable health insurance.
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Quick Look: Best Health Insurance in Colorado
- Health First Colorado: Best Overall
- Rocky Mountain Health Plans: Most Affordable
- Denver Health Medical Plan: Best Customer Service
- Bright Health Plan: Quick Service
- Kaiser Permanente: Best for Self-employed
What is Health Insurance?
There are 2 types of health care systems: single-payer and multi-payer. One organization, typically a national government, covers all the costs of its citizens’ health care in a single-payer system. For example, governments in countries like Canada, England and most of Europe collect taxes from citizens and use that money to cover their citizens’ health care expenses.
The United States has a multi-payer health care system. A multi-payer system means that multiple parties must contribute to people’s health care. Citizens are required to purchase their own health insurance from a private marketplace, while children and the elderly can be covered under free plans from the government.
The United States currently has the largest multi-payer health care system in the world and incorporates over 40 different insurance companies. As a result, each citizen is expected to contribute to his or her own health care costs.
Average Cost of Health Insurance in Colorado
Coloradans spend an average of $480 per month, or $5,640 per year, on health insurance, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
One of the biggest discounts available to Coloradans is the new reinsurance program. Under this new program, the Colorado state government would fully insure specific individuals and in exchange, insurance companies will drop insurance rates for the rest of the population.
The average Coloradoan will see his or her monthly insurance premiums drop by over 20% starting in 2020.
Types of Health Coverage
It’s important to know how health insurance is organized and what it will and won’t cover before you search how to get health insurance. Here are the different types of plans you can access: preferred provider (PPO), health maintenance organization (HMO) and point of service plans (POS). Each plan type offers different benefits.
Preferred Provider (PPO) Plans
You’ll be given a list of health care providers that you can visit. These types of plans are very popular because they do not require you to have a primary physician.
Health Maintenance Organization (HMO)
You’re only allowed to see doctors and providers who are part of an HMO. These plans also require you do find an approved primary doctor.
Point of Service (POS) Plans
POS plans are similar to PPOs but you’re required to pick a primary care doctor. These plans tend to more complicated because all of your health care referrals must go through your primary doctor and add in more steps between you and treatment.
What Does Health Insurance Cover?
Health care companies classify a medical expense as either elective or nonelective procedures. A nonelective procedure is a medical need that is required to maintain your health, while an elective procedure is often not.
Nonelective procedures include emergency room visits, routine checkups, vaccinations, commonly-used prescription drugs, surgeries, mental health care and pregnancy costs.
What Does Health Insurance not Cover?
Elective healthcare procedures are procedures that are not required to maintain your overall health and often aren’t covered by health insurance. Elective procedures include orthodontics, weight loss reduction surgeries, cosmetic procedures and medical trials. Certain prescription drugs are also sometimes not covered.
Best Health Insurance Providers in Colorado
Which company or nonprofit offers the best health insurance in Colorado? We’ve listed our top picks.
1. Health First Colorado
Health First Colorado is a health care network funded in part by Medicare and Medicaid.
This plan offers Coloradans a primary doctor, in-network care and copays around $2 per visit.
This plan also includes dental, behavioral health, maternity-related visits, prescription drug coverage and laboratory tests.
2. Rocky Mountain Health Plans
Rocky Mountain Health Plans is a nonprofit HMO-based health care system.
Rocky Health also offers group plans for small businesses. Under these plans, small businesses are able to offer quality health care plans that they might not otherwise be able to afford.
Rocky Mountain also offers an HSA plan, where you can place pretax income and place it into a specialized health savings account.
3. Denver Health Medical Plan
Denver Health is popular among self-employed, independent contractors, seasonal workers and college students.
This is because Denver Health offers specialized programs for people who don’t expect to use their healthcare but just need to have some coverage available just in case.
All plans also offer a 50%–70% discount on prescription drugs when they’re paid out of pocket.
4. Bright Health Plan
Bright Health is one of Colorado’s most flexible health insurance systems — you can find 6 different plans, depending on your unique needs.
Deductibles can range from as low as $2,000 for individuals to as high as $14,000 for families.
In addition to health coverage, these plans also include services such as 24-hour nurse hotlines, after-hour appointment scheduling and same-day appointments. You’re also not required to receive any referrals in order to see a specialist.
5. Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente plans specialize in doctors for adult medicine, pediatrics and family care.
You can have separate doctors for each individual member of your family. Kaiser plans are also extremely flexible because they allow you to change your primary doctor at any time.
Kaiser Permanente helps coordinate everything via the Kaiser app and allows you to schedule visits, change doctors, order prescriptions, seek referrals — all from the convenience of a cellphone.
Choose the Best Health Insurance in Colorado
Colorado ranks among the top states for affordable health insurance systems. No matter your individual situation, there’s an affordable plan for you and your family. Check out one of the 5 excellent companies listed above and schedule an appointment with one of them today.
Be sure to pay attention to when open enrollment kicks off and get yourself enrolled – open enrollment for most health insurance companies starts November 1 and last till January 15, 2020.