Brokers say Colorado is steering Bright, Oscar Health customers to public option, even if it costs more

Insurance brokers allege Colorado officials are unfairly promoting the state's new Colorado Option plans, suggesting them to Bright Health and Oscar Health members who need to find a new plan, The Colorado Sun reported Dec. 2. 

Bright Health and Oscar Health will both exit the state's individual insurance market next year, leaving around 50,000 members who need to choose new coverage options for 2023 on Connect for Health Colorado, the state's online marketplace. 

Customers are being offered Colorado Option plans as the "suggested plans" to replace the Bright and Oscar Health plans. Insurance brokers told the Colorado Sun these plans are not always the cheapest option. 

If customers want to shop for options other than the plans suggested to them, they have to go all the way back through the Connect for Health Colorado system, reentering their financial information, The Colorado Sun reported. 

Brad Niederman, a health insurance broker, said at a meeting last month of the Connect for Health board the suggested plans are an "obvious attempt" by the state to direct customers to Colorado Option plans, "whether that is a better fit for them or not." 

Federal regulators approved the Colorado Option plan, which requires payers to offer set benefits at a lower cost, in June. 

Most plans did not meet the state's benchmarks to reduce premium costs this year.

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