The Colorado Blue Ribbon Commission for Health Care Reform is moving closer to its goal of overhauling the Colorado health care system. On Thursday, the members of the commission presented a 101 page draft of their final recommendations on changes that need to be made to the ailing health care system in the state.
The commission is proposing that all Colorado residents be required to enroll in at least a basic health insurance policy, and that residents who adhere to a healthy lifestyle get discounted premiums. Both of these are suggestions that I strongly support. The commission is also recommending that citizens be given “meaningful choices” in health care plans. I’m curious to see the final version of the proposal to see what they mean by meaningful choices. There is already a mind-boggling array of health insurance plans available, with more choices than most people care to compare. Perhaps the commission wants to streamline the options so that fewer plans could offer just as many choices for consumers without the brain freeze that tends to accompany the search for health insurance.
Another recommendation that I can appreciate is “implementing a more convenient information system for residents and employers to seek details of plans, such as cost and coverage restrictions”. Currently all Colorado health insurance plans have to have a plan description form that is laid out in the same way for every policy from every health insurance carrier in the state. The idea was to make it easy for consumers to compare apples to apples. But in reality, the forms are unclear and generally provide little help to a person trying to sort of the differences among plans. Most consumers fall back instead on the glossy brochures that insurance companies provide – each one different from the next. A health care system with fewer policy choices, expanded eligibility, and genuinely easy to understand comparison charts would benefit consumers and providers alike.
The Blue Ribbon Commission will present their final report to the General Assembly next month. I’m very interested to see where the recommendations go from there. Hopefully Colorado’s health insurance system will get a much needed overhaul based on the commission’s report.