The federal government has approved the state’s request to consolidate its geographic rating areas for health insurance. These insurance regions were created as a part of the Affordable Care Act, and are used by insurance companies to set premiums.
The Colorado Division of Insurance said the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services has given approval for the state to shuffle its 11 regions for health insurance into nine next year.
The reshape will combine four rural areas into two larger ones while keeping seven established urban areas.
Vincent Plymell, a spokesman for the Division of Insurance, said the goal of the reshaping is to spread the risks and costs of health care over a larger population.
"The hope is that this will reduce some of the variations across regions in terms of health insurance premiums," Plymell said.
Under the consolidation, Garfield, Eagle, Summit, and Pitkin counties will be added to the Western Slope region to create an area that will consist of 21 counties.
Earlier this year, a Kaiser Family Foundation report found those four counties, known as the Colorado Mountain Resort Region, had the highest health insurance premiums in the country.
Also under the reshaping, the Northeast and Southeast rating areas will be combined into a single region that will consist of 26 counties.