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Public Option Scheduled for the Floor of the Senate May 25

    May 24, 2021

    By Colin A. Walker, Fairfield and Woods, P.C.

    House Bill 1232, the Standardized Health Benefit Plan Colorado Option, is scheduled for the floor of the Senate on Tuesday, May 25. The amended bill, which is designed to lower healthcare costs for individual and small group plans, has been opposed by many business organizations and healthcare organizations. The bill is complicated, but, in short, it would mandate certain reductions of premiums for individual and small group plans. If these reductions were not achieved, the Commissioner of Insurance would be empowered to establish carrier reimbursement rates for healthcare providers. 

    The Board of Directors of Colorado SHRM has considered the bill and has decided to take no position on it. While the Board applauds the goal of reducing healthcare costs, it does have some concerns about the approach taken by this bill. One concern is that the bill may result in shifting of costs from individual and small group plans to larger plans, many of which are sponsored by employers. This could increase the costs to employers and the employees covered by those plans. While the bill contains a provision prohibiting cost shifting, it is not clear that the Commissioner of Insurance could enforce it. Another concern is that the bill would give the Commissioner of Insurance enormous discretion to set rates if the reductions mandated by the bill were not achieved. The Board is wary of granting such significant powers to an unelected official. On the other hand, some members of the Board felt that the bill could benefit smaller employers and their employees by decreasing their healthcare costs (albeit possibly at the expense of larger plans). In light of these conflicting and uncertain impacts, the Board decided to take no position. 

    However, the Board encourages individuals to express their opinions. There are many ways to do this, including writing to Senators and other elected officials. More information on how to contact senators can be found at

    Questions? Contact COSHRM's Legislative Director, Colin Walker.