Communities in southwest Colorado have benefitted from the partnership between Local First Foundation and Peak Health Alliance to bring more affordable health insurance options to local residents and businesses, saving almost $4 million in premiums for southwest Colorado over the past two years.

Unfortunately, the health insurance carrier serving Peak Health Alliance — Bright HealthCare — let everyone down with their recent surprise decision to pull out of the market in Colorado and other states in 2023. It is important to note: All current Peak-sponsored plans remain fully in effect for the remainder of 2022.

Bright’s exit means Peak Health Alliance members will need to find new coverage for 2023. Peak has compiled resources to help you pick a new plan. Visit: https://peakhealthalliance.org/resources/

We are here to help! Doug McCarthy, our local healthcare advocate, can help you explore options for help including local insurance brokers and enrollment assisters certified by Connect for Health Colorado, the state’s official insurance marketplace. Businesses can still benefit from using Individual Coverage Health Reimbursement Arrangements (ICHRAs) to cover their employees.

Open enrollment for individuals and families begins on November 1 for coverage in 2023. Be sure to enroll by December 15 to continue or start coverage on January 1, 2023. Federal premium subsidies (advance tax credits) available through Connect for Health Colorado can substantially lower the cost of health insurance for many individuals and families.

Local First Foundation will continue its advocacy for Southwest Colorado communities during 2023, including supporting access to mental health care through an ARPA grant from La Plata County and working with Peak Health Alliance to develop new insurance solutions for 2024. Making healthcare more affordable and accessible for our rural communities is hard work, and there are bound to be setbacks along the way. We appreciate the understanding and support of our communities as we move forward.

Contact Doug McCarthy at 970-799-6618 ext. 4, or by email at doug@local-first.org.

Local First FoundationThe Local First Foundation works to build an economy that values people, the planet, and prosperity for everyone. Through the work of its Southwest Healthcare Steering Committee, the Local First Foundation partners with Peak Health Alliance to design local solutions to meet the needs of Southwest Colorado communities, residents and businesses in Dolores, La Plata, Montezuma, and San Juan counties. More information on our work is available at http://foundation.local-first.org.

Peak Health Alliance is a member-led nonprofit health insurance purchasing cooperative serving 8 counties on Colorado’s Western Slope. Peak’s mission is to leverage the purchasing power of an entire community by negotiating on their behalf for more competitive rates. Peak partners with local providers, hospitals and carriers to create comprehensive and affordable plans for residents and businesses. More information is available at www.peakhealthalliance.org.