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Project Health Colorado is here to help answer your questions. And when the responses are really complex, we call on health care experts from across Colorado—doctors, consumer advocates, insurers and others—to answer the questions that you have asked. These experts represent and understand often complicated health care issues and provide you with straight answers. To select answers by the topics that most interests you, click on the circles below.

COST OF HEALTH CARE

Would it be more affordable if all citizens were covered by some form of health coverage? Instead of everyone for themselves in finding adequate health care coverage?

Yes.

One of our experts, Dr. Jay Want, wrote a blog post about how expanding health insurance coverage can actually make things more affordable for the rest of us.

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What is currently being done to address health care costs in Colorado?

There are a number of state and federal initiatives underway in Colorado that are working to address costs in the health care system while also improving patient care.

The new federal health law requires that Medicare, the health insurance program for the elderly and people with disabilities, run pilot programs that pay a flat fee for a single episode of care. In Colorado, the emergence of Accountable Care Organizations, in which groups of health care providers coordinate to provide care to patients, will result in reimbursements for doctors and other providers being tied to the delivery of care that meets quality and cost benchmarks. As well, Colorado’s All Payer Claims Database, which was created by state legislators in 2010 and is currently in development, will make available claims data from all private insurance providers in Colorado, as well as Medicaid and Medicare. This kind of transparency will provide a comprehensive picture of health care costs in our state, helping to spur better solutions for how to make health care more efficient and affordable.

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Are my rates going to increase when everyone has insurance?

No. Currently, people with insurance help to cover the costs of people without insurance.

This is because people who do not have insurance often require more expensive health care because they do not get preventive checkups and instead get costly treatment in emergency rooms after their conditions have worsened. When more people have health insurance, the rapidly increasing health care costs will be curtailed by ensuring that everyone gets the care they need, when they need it, and in the most appropriate (and often more cost efficient) setting. For more information, please see this blog post from Dr. Jay Want.

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