Hickenlooper signs Colorado Health Benefits Exchange


Gov. John Hickenlooper was joined today by state lawmakers and leaders from the business, consumer, health and insurance industries to sign legislation that creates the Colorado Health Benefits Exchange.

SB 200 "Health Benefits Exchange" sponsored by Senate President Pro-tem Betty Boyd, D-Lakewood, and House Majority Leader Amy Stephens, R-Monument, establishes a voluntary, competitive insurance marketplace. Colorado is one of seven states to create its own health exchange and the only one to do so with bipartisan legislative approval.

"This legislation moves Colorado forward with one voice," Hickenlooper said. "The health exchange will allow individuals and small businesses to choose among easy-to-compare affordable health care options. It will give Coloradans more control, quality choices and better protections when buying insurance. We are grateful to the bill's sponsors, Sen. Betty Boyd and Rep. Amy Stephens, and various interest groups for working through partisan politics to do what's right for all of Colorado."

SB 200 will allow individuals and small businesses looking for insurance to join together with others to negotiate for group rates and discounts the way larger companies currently do.

"It has been an honor and a privilege to carry this legislation, and I am enormously proud to see the Health Exchange Act signed into law," Boyd said. "I have never seen such a broad-based coalition of support for a piece of health care legislation. I appreciate how business groups, consumer advocates, insurers and health care providers came together to support this uniquely Colorado solution to help individuals and small businesses purchase health coverage. Also, I want to thank Governor Hickenlooper for his leadership on this issue."

"SB 200 gives Colorado the ability to focus on what is important to Colorado in the design and implementation of health benefit exchanges," Stephens said. "I applaud the business community, the health community and the consumer community for supporting this important legislation. Now the work of designing an exchange that works for Colorado begins."

The Colorado Health Exchange will be an independent public entity not affiliated with an existing state agency or department and initially funded by gifts, grants and donations. The exchange will be governed by nine board members of whom the majority will be individuals and business representatives who are not directly affiliated with the insurance industry. The board will hire the exchange's executive director.

For a complete list of Gov. Hickenlooper's 2011 legislative action, visit www.colorado.gov/governor.