CMS Administrator Visit to Colorado

This week, I had the honor of joining Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, Health and Human Services (HHS) Regional Director Lily Griego, and CMS Regional Administrator John Hannigan as they visited Colorado to discuss making health coverage more affordable and accessible, key pillars of our mission.

I joined the Administrator for a roundtable discussion hosted by the Denver Indian Center to discuss how we can best support efforts to meet the health care needs of Urban Indian communities. It was a far-reaching discussion, exploring best practices and challenges related to achieving health care equity and access. I thank all participants for their openness to explore such an important topic.

We also had the opportunity to meet with Mountain Family Health Center, one of our Assistance Network sites, to discuss the risks we will face if we don’t see Congress act on American Rescue Plan (ARP) extensions. Afterward, I joined the Administrator and Mountain Family Health Center for a national press call to share stories that illustrate how life changing the enhanced savings have been for families in rural Colorado.

Beginning last spring, we were able to offer thousands of new and existing customers increased access to savings thanks to the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. The federal law expanded the amount of assistance people could receive to cover some or all the cost of their health insurance premium when shopping with Connect for Health Colorado through 2022.

Those enhanced marketplace subsidies have made a huge impact on the lives of Coloradans. Across all rural counties, expanded financial assistance led to a 19 percent increase in enrollments over last year, and a 16 percent decrease in those residents’ net premiums.

I’ve heard several stories about customers who had avoided buying health insurance due to cost. If these enhanced subsidies end, people who rely on marketplaces like Connect for Health Colorado to obtain affordable health insurance will lose some or all of their financial help or no longer being able to afford their coverage.

I hope the visit highlighted the great work we are doing in our state to continue to push for access, affordability and choice for individuals and small employers purchasing health insurance in Colorado.

Take care, 

Kevin Patterson, MURP, MPA
Chief Executive Officer
Connect for Health Colorado